By Susan M. Thigpen © 1984-2012
Issue: March, 1984
One of the most prominent low growing foliage plants in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a little plant called Galax. It is so prolific the chances are, if you have walked through a patch of mountain woods, you've stepped over it. Growing in thick clusters close to the ground, its leaves are a shiny, leathery green in summer but turn a copper red in fall and winter. In areas where it isn't protected, it is gathered and used by the florist trade.
Galax blooms in May and June, with a single slender stalk about one or two feet tall bearing a cluster of tiny white flowers at its tip. You can see Galax in dry woods with acid soil. The only reference I could find as to how it got its name was that it presumably came from the Greek "gala", meaning milk, in reference to the color of its flowers.