Off the beaten path: Alarka Institute leads quest for rare mountain flower

For even the most woods-savvy of plant lovers, a blooming mountain camellia is a rare to non-existent sight. 

A member of the tea family, it’s picky about its habitat, easily susceptible to drought and fire, and reticent to reproduce. All that adds up to a tenuous existence in scattered, isolated populations through the Southern Appalachians. To find a mountain camellia, you’ve got to know where to go and what to look for, and be willing to tromp through the backcountry until you see it. 

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