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Wildflower Bloom Report

Another Spectacular Spring Wildflower Season Ending Soon

Posted on 5/12/2017 by State Nature Preserves
Can you believe that it’s been twelve weeks since our first bloom report in February when harbinger-of-spring broke ground in southwest Ohio? Our very warm winter meant an extremely early start to the season. But March was quite cold, slowing the season down, holding back the trees and wildflowers from leafing out and avoiding a hard, killing frost. April was warm and sunny, which resulted in wonderful viewing conditions across the state. Northern Ohio quickly caught up with the south, and the display was spectacular state-wide by the third week of April. Once May arrived, cool temperatures and rain set in, extending the season, but this month has not offered the beautiful spring weather we experienced in April. While many spring bloomers will continue for a few weeks, we are past peak conditions throughout Ohio and this will be our last report of the season.


At Miller Nature Sanctuary, one of the last remaining bloomers is Virginia spiderwort; most of the other species have senesced for the season. This Saturday, May 13, we’re offering a very special hike at Davis Memorial State Nature Preserve to see both yellow and pink lady’s-slipper orchids. See our calendar for more details. At Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve, the umbrella magnolia trees should now be opening along the floodplain of Salt Lick Creek, and sweet white violet and pink lady’s-slippers will be beautiful as well. Most of the spring ephemerals, including large white trillium, have faded across southern Ohio.


At Clifton Gorge, the season is wrapping up quickly. The tree canopy is fully green and the amount of light reaching the forest floor is rapidly diminishing. The dominant bloomers to see at Clifton include the white and blue flowers of Virginia and appendaged waterleaf, Solomon’s plume, mayapple, striped white violet, wild geranium, and Robin’s plantain, a member of the fleabane genus. Wild blue phlox, stonecrop, and wild ginger are past peak. Moving east to the Hocking Hills, there are large displays of large-flowered valerian at both Boch Hollow and Conkles Hollow. At Rhododendron Cove, the native orchid puttyroot is now blooming. Showy orchis can still be found, but it is on its way out unfortunately. Wild comfrey is also reaching a peak in the area. Finally, pink lady’s-slippers are in abundance at Christmas Rocks. To see them, make the 2-mile trek to Jacob’s ladder where you will be treated to spectacular views of the valley below.


In the northwest corner of Ohio at Goll Woods, cool temperatures and rain mean conditions are similar to last week. The magenta flowers of wild geranium and blues and purples of wild blue phlox are the most numerous blooms. At Sheepskin Hollow, access the railroad bed trail by parking at the Pancake-Clarkson Road pull-off and walk south along the abandoned railroad corridor. Appendaged waterleaf, sweet cicely, mayapple, the Solomon’s-seals, bluets, wild geranium and wild blue phlox can all be seen on the forest floor. The white blooms of flowering dogwood are still open in the understory. Finally, things are in decline at Eagle Creek, but the waterleafs, wild blue phlox, and wild geranium are still putting on a show.

Thank you for joining us on our 2017 wildflower journey. We’ll be back from time to time during the growing season to recommend a few summer wildflowers to seek out, but for now, we’re signing off for the 2017 spring wildflower season. We hope you enjoyed our weekly reports. Happy botanizing!

The Ohio wildflower bloom report is updated weekly with the best places to see spring wildflowers in Ohio as well as specific information on native wildflowers in the state. We encourage you to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag, #ohiowildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @OhioFindItHere on Twitter and Division of Natural Areas and Preserves on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.