NOTE: This story, first posted earlier this month, has been updated with additional information from ODNR.
Ohioans will soon be treated to a spectacular display of native spring wildflowers. This year’s season began in late March in Ohio’s southern counties and gradually will move northward as the season comes to an end in the middle of May, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
“Spring is one of the most magical times of year in Ohio,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Spring welcomes an array of colorful wildflowers, which line trails and hillsides all over the state. Hiking is a great way to get outdoors to see spring wildflowers and reconnect with nature after the chill of the winter months.”
Often known as spring ephemerals, woodland spring wildflowers are triggered to bloom after long periods of cold temperatures. Early spring warmth followed by a sudden hard frost can damage their delicate blooms and leaves, dampening the display. The most spectacular wildflower seasons are brought on by a gradual warm-up through March and April with frequent rain. The timing of the blooms is heavily dependent upon temperature.
Ohio’s forests showcase the largest array of wildflowers throughout the spring months. Spring wildflowers bloom early to take advantage of the sunlight streaming through the forest canopy before the leaves of the trees unfurl above. The earliest flowers emerge soon after the ground thaws, having formed flowers and leaves underneath the forest floor the year before. While most woods in Ohio have at least some native spring wildflowers, the best populations are found in relatively undisturbed locations, away from urban areas. The best days to venture to the woods to look at open wildflowers are warm, sunny spring days with temperatures above 50 degrees.
Early bloomers include harbinger-of-spring, snow trillium and hepatica. These are soon followed by spring beauty, cut-leaved toothwort and bloodroot. Finally, showier flowers like large white trillium, Virginia bluebells and wild geranium carpet the forest floor with a wash of color.
A few of the most widespread and often observed spring wildflowers include spring beauty, Dutchman’s-breeches, large flowered trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wild geranium, mayapple, Solomon’s-seal and Virginia bluebells.
Locally, Gorman Nature Center always boasts a wonderful display of wildflowers, including Rue Anemone and Long-Spurred Violet which bloom into early summer.
For more information on spring wildflowers in Ohio, you can find the Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report at naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/wildflowers. This report will be updated weekly with the best places to see spring wildflowers in Ohio, as well as specific information on native wildflowers in the state.
ODNR and TourismOhio encourage people to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag #OhioWildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @OhioFindItHere on Twitter, @ohiodnr on Instagram and Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio. Find It Here. on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.
Update on 4.21.19: In the latest edition of the Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report, published on 4.19.19, it states, “Our state wildflower, large-flowered trillium has started blooming in Richland County. Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla) is in bud in northern Ohio too.”
According to Wikipedia, the large-flowered trillium, or Trillium grandiflorum, “is most common in rich, mixed upland forests. It is easily recognized by its attractive three-petaled white flowers, opening from late spring to early summer, that rise above a whorl of three, leaf-like bracts. It is an example of a spring ephemeral, a plant whose life-cycle is synchronized with that of the deciduous woodland which it favors.”
This flower is pictured above. If you find one anywhere in the county, please take a photo and post the same on social media using the hashtag #OhioWildflowers.”
Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Photo: Creative Commons License