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Ohioans to See Spectacular Spring Wildflowers

Posted on 3/2/2016 by State Nature Preserves

Ohioans will soon be treated to a spectacular display of native spring wildflowers as this year’s milder winter will allow for some early bloomers. This year’s season will begin in early March in Ohio’s southern counties and gradually move northward as the season comes to an end in early May, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

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 first bloomer of the spring, the odorous skunk cabbage, a member of the arum family, opened quite early this year, responding to unusually mild weather in late January. With a brownish-red colored horn-shaped spathe as its flower, one could easily miss this spring sentinel. Low, wet springs at the base of wooded hills and in stream valleys are the best places to find it. Snow trillium, harbinger-of-spring, hepatica and bloodroot follow soon after. Ohio’s state wildflower, the large white trillium, reaches peak bloom in April.

For more information on spring wildflowers in Ohio, check out the Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report. 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. Miller Nature Sanctuary, Davey Woods, Clifton Gorge, Eagle Creek, Goll Woods and Boch Hollow state nature preserves will be featured in the season’s reports.

ODNR and TourismOhio encourage people to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag, #OhioWildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @DiscoverOhio on Twitter, @ohiodnr on Instagram and Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Discover Ohio on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.