Special to 1812Blockhouse from ODNR

Welcome back to ODNR’s weekly Ohio Spring Wildflower Bloom report. Wildflowers have really exploded in the last week and taken full advantage of the warmer weather and plentiful rain. We have dozens of species now in bloom throughout the state with more new daily arrivals. This weekend and all next week are looking top notch for going outside and taking in the beauty of the springtime in Ohio.

This week’s featured wildflower is twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla). It is beginning to bloom throughout southern Ohio right now and is as beautiful as it is fleeting. The flowers only open on sunny days and rarely last more than a day or two, which makes for a difficult one to time just right. Some great places to see this ephemeral include Whipple, Shoemaker, and Miller State Nature Preserves. It occurs throughout much of the state but prefers limestone-derived soils.

This week’s state nature preserve feature is Miller Nature Sanctuary State Nature Preserve in Highland County. It is one of the finest places to catch peak wildflower action in this region of the state. Over two miles of hiking trails takes you through a lush dolostone gorge with impressive geology such as natural arches, slump rocks, and waterfalls. The rich soils are home to a wealth of wildflower diversity with the large-flowered trillium, Virginia bluebells, false rue-anemone, and Dutchman’s breeches displays especially nice. Other interesting wildflowers at Miller include snow trillium, shooting-star, twinleaf, several waterleafs, and wild columbine. Things are really starting to pick up with a peak occurring over the next couple of weeks. Many of the photos in this week’s report are from Miller.

South Region

The southern region of the state is leading the charge as usual with the newest bloomers to report. Many species are just breaking bud for the first time this year such red trillium, wild geranium, wild columbine, blue-eyed Mary, star chickweed, early meadow-rue, hoary puccoon, large-flowered bellwort, bird foot violet, Jacob’s ladder, wood anemone, false rue-anemone, smooth rock cress, and wood vetch. No worries – these are all just starting and be in full bloom in the coming weeks.

Things are reaching the first ‘peak’ of spring throughout the region with species like bloodroot, wood poppy, squirrel corn, Dutchman’s breeches, trout lilies, spring beauties, large-flowered trillium, Virginia bluebells, and violets are looking excellent.

However, things are coming to an end for a number of our earliest species such as harbinger-of-spring, purple cress, cut-leaved toothwort, and sharp-lobed hepatica. That’s not to say you still can’t find some flowering but time is running out.

Excellent spots to seek out spring’s flush of wildflowers in this region include Boch Hollow, Caesar Creek Gorge, Davis Memorial, Desonier, Halls Creek Woods, Hueston Woods, Lake Katharine, Miller, and Shoemaker state nature preserves. Burr Oak, Hueston Woods, Lake Hope and Shrouds Run state parks have great displays too. For those who prefer to visit a vast forest, check out Shawnee State Forest in Scioto County—in early spring, it is a carpet of wildflowers. Wildflowers are spectacular at Bender Mountain Preserve in Cincinnati and East Fork State Park in Clermont County.

Central Region

The central region is starting to catch up and get into gear as well. Wildflowers such as trout lilies, bloodroot, Virginia bluebells, large-flowered trillium, sessile trillium, large-flowered bellwort, miterwort, rue-anemone, early meadow rue, and squirrel corn are beginning to show nicely throughout the region. We can report things like wild ginger, wild geranium, blue cohosh, golden ragwort, Canada violet, and Jacob’s ladder are not far behind! Be sure to visit Cedar Bog this week to catch its sublime display of marsh marigolds in great shape throughout the swamp woods.

Our recommendations for brilliant wildflower displays in this area include Blackhand Gorge, Christmas Rocks, Clifton Gorge, Davey Woods, Gallagher Fen, and Shallenberger state nature preserves. State parks are another great spot for a quick wildflower hike. Check out the trails at Alum Creek, Cowan Lake, John Bryan, or Mt. Gilead state parks.

North Region

Our northern reaches of the state are continuing to wake up. Traveling north during spring acts a time machine of sorts with species just beginning or still in bloom that have already finished in the southern stretches. Wildflowers like sharp-lobed hepatica, spring beauty, and purple cress are starting to peak with bloodroot, Dutchman’s breeches, cut-leaved toothwort, and violets just breaking bud in most parts. Harbinger-of-spring is at peak or past. Other plants reaching peak further south like trout-lilies, trilliums, bluebells, and squirrel corn have their leaves just coming up!

As the weather warms, you will want to grab the family and stop at a prime state nature preserve, such as Augusta-Anne Olsen, Collier, Eagle Creek, Goll Woods, Johnson Woods, Kendrick Woods, Kyle Woods, and Lawrence Woods to spy your favorite spring wildflower species.

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