Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes courting/love

Appalachian Through My Eyes – A Valentine in the Woods

Galax plant shaped like a heart

Galax is Appalachia’s own Valentine. If you go stogging around in the woods this time of the year you’re bound to see the bright green hearts of the Galax plant. They shine like beacons in the dreary brown woods of winter.


*First line paraphrased from John Parris’s February in the Hills.


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  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    February 14, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Of all the holidays, Valentine’s Day use to be my Favorite.

    I got saved in a Revival at Topton Baptist when I was nine and was Baptised at the Forks of the River in Nantahala. The left side is cold as the Dickens, traveling about 9 miles underground. My daddy use to lay down on his back and ride a small train in there. At the time it wasn’t but about 4′ tall. There ain’t no way I would have done this.

    I showed Matt, Tipper, and the girls one time where I was Baptised. There is a Bridge just above where I was souged under, and a paved walkway (about 1 1/4 miles), clean down to the Double Bridges or Tomahawk Trail. Some folks know it as the Winding Stairs Rd. Ken

  • Reply
    February 14, 2019 at 11:05 am

    I have seen these in the woods Tipper but i didnt know the name of them. Thanks to you , i do now. Hope you all Happy Valentine’s Day. God Bless you all!❤

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    February 14, 2019 at 10:53 am

    There is another plant which will make its spring appearance shortly with a heart-shaped leaf. It is variously known as little brown jug, wild ginger (has an absolutely delightful smell) and heart leaf. Here’s a photo:

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    February 14, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Tipper and all the Blind Pig readers,
    Happy Valentine’s Day!
    I love the heart shape of the Little Brown Jug…too…Everything should be greening up by this time next month…I hope…
    Thanks Tipper,
    Hope you have a heart filled day…

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    February 14, 2019 at 8:54 am

    Tipper–John Parris is one of my heroes of regional literature, and his short, tightly written pieces of countless aspects of mountain life are jewels. In this case though he missed the boat a bit. That’s because this time of year galax leaves are actually often the color associated with Valentine’s Day–hues of scarlet, maroon, magenta, and crimson can be found in the plant along with its customary shiny green. In fact, I’ve always suspect that the combination of those colors with green explained why gallackers (those who gathered galax) once were able to sell it to city slickers during the Christmas season.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    February 14, 2019 at 8:44 am

    Hope yall have a wonderful Valentine’s Day! The sun is actually shining here in TN!!

  • Reply
    Diane Tuttle
    February 14, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Happy Valentines day! Love the heart shaped leaf of the Galax. And I love this blog. I came across it one day by accident and I am so glad that I did! I look forward to finding it in my inbox each morning. Thank you for being so faithful and for reminding me of precious memories of my grandmother.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    February 14, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Thanks for that reminder. Galax is a really attractive plant at all seasons; shiny dark green in spring and early summer, spikes of white flowers in mid-summer then bronze leaves in fall with burgundy underneath. And it keeps the burgundy color when it is dried so makes a good dried flower arrangement plant through the winter.

    There are also the various ‘heart-leaf’ plants that are evergreen. I especially like the sweet heart-leaf because of the anise-like smell. I am ‘awful bad to’ pluck a leaf, crush it up and tuck it in my shirt pocket when I find it in the woods. I strip off leaves from sweet goldenrod for the same reason.

    Happy Valentines Day to all y’all.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    February 14, 2019 at 7:53 am

    Have a loving Valentine’s Day everyone.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 14, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Stogging certainly is a good old Appalachian word that I like a lot and it seems to be a word that spell check does not recognize!
    Happy Valentines to all!

  • Reply
    Don Byers
    February 14, 2019 at 7:13 am

    So that is what that stuff is!!!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    February 14, 2019 at 6:45 am

    Happy Valentines Day to all

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