Aquatic Wildflowers of Highland Lake

While there is no shortage of interesting things to do at Highland Lake, it’s important to remember to sit back and smell the flowers during your stay at our Highland Lake vacation rentals. If you are up for a little bit of exploring, there’s an endless variety of flora and fauna to discover in and around the resort, including some very interesting examples aquatic wildflowers. Although you might find a couple more uncommon species if you’re lucky, the following plants are pretty hard to miss when they are in full bloom.

Water Lilies

Highland Lake is home to two distinct types of water lilies, the fragrant white water-lily and the sweet pink water-lily. Botanists seem to quibble over whether these are truly separate species or simply two subspecies of Nymphaea odorata. Either way, the lily pads get pretty thick on some parts of the lake, providing excellent cover for some of the larger bass residing in the local waters. If you find yourself paddling through a dense patch of water lilies, keep an eye out for the small turtles that love to sun themselves atop the large floating leaves. Blossoms appear in June and often stick around into September.

Japanese Irises

All along the coast of Highland Lake during the mid-spring, visitors are greeted with the sight of countless Japanese irises in bloom right along the water’s edge. Technically not quite wildflowers, Highland Lake’s irises have officially gone native and colonized nearly the entire circumference of the lake. When they are in full bloom during May and June, they are truly a sight to behold.


While the bladderwort may be humble both in name and appearance, this fascinating species is easily one of the most interesting plants that you will find during the summer at our Highland Lake rentals. The floating bladderwort, Utricularia inflate, is one of a handful of species of carnivorous plants that inhabit this region of western North Carolina. Bladderwort obtain a large portion vital nutrients through the use of small ingenious traps floating just below the surface of the lake. The traps function by periodically sucking in a small quantity of water and slowly filtering it back into the lake, leaving behind insects, tadpoles and small fish that are slowly absorbed by the plant’s digestive juices. These North Carolina bladderworts can be found by anyone visiting our Highland Lake rentals from mid-summer on into early fall.

The easiest way to spot aquatic wildflowers at Highland Lake is to get out and paddle around the lake itself. However, guests can spot some pretty good examples of all three plants directly from the pier and shoreline as well.

For more information about Highland Lake and our rental properties, please contact Diana at 1-800-873-0224

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