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Wildflower Bloom Report

Spring Wildflower Season Begins: Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report for March 4, 2016

Posted on 3/4/2016 by State Nature Preserves

Spring wildflower season has begun! We hope you’ve enjoyed the rather mild winter. Are you ready for another exciting spring wildflower season? Because of the mild winter, Ohio’s native wildflowers have begun blooming nearly a full month earlier this year. Our first 2015 report was released March 27. This year several species began blooming in earnest the last weekend of February. However, because winter was so late to arrive, we received a few reports of hepatica blooming in late December and early January. This early start to the season was soon ended by the freezing temperatures and snow that finally arrived in February. Fortunately for spring wildflower lovers, the blast of cold was short lived. Skunk cabbage flowers opened as temperatures warmed.


Peak Bloom

Skunk cabbage, an unusual wildflower in the Arum family, is now in peak bloom across Ohio, even in areas where snow may still be on the ground. The horn-shaped flower is comprised of two parts. A dark red and green spathe sheaths an inner spadix, a ball like structure that supports the stamens and pistils. Look inside the spathe to see the spadix. Skunk cabbage has the incredible ability to generate heat, melting the snow around each flower. This early bloomer grows in wet mucky forest areas at the bases of hills and along stream bottoms.


Skunk Cabbage


Harbinger-of-spring, a tiny member of the carrot family, is also in peak bloom in the southern half of the state. Our preserve staff has seen it at Conkles Hollow, Davey Woods, and Clifton Gorge. Look for it further north late next week when warm air moves into Ohio.


Harbinger-of-spring


Beginning to Bloom

The earliest flowers of hepatica have opened. We’ve received scattered reports from across southern Ohio. If you haven’t yet seen hepatica, you’re in for a treat. Peak bloom in the south will come next week. Look for the best displays in rich woodlands. We’ll be on the lookout for this species at Clifton Gorge and Miller Nature Sanctuary.

A sure sign that winter has ended is the blooming of snow trillium. This tiny wildflower, with blooms not much larger than a quarter, opened in extreme southern Ohio on February 29. It was spotted in bud that day further north in Highland County. Next week it should reach peak bloom.


Snow Trillium


A few spring beauties have started to flower. We’ve had several reports from Hamilton County, and a single flower was spotted peeking out of the leaf litter at Shallenberger (Fairfield County) on February 28.


Spring Beauty


Look for Next

A venture out into the woods this weekend may bring a few wildflower encounters in southern Ohio, but the season will ramp up next week as the temperatures rise. Bloodroot, Dutchman’s Breeches, and yellow trout-lily should come next.

The Ohio wildflower bloom 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. We encourage you to take spring wildflower photos and upload them to social media using the hashtag, #ohiowildflowers. Follow @ohiodnr and @DiscoverOhio on Twitter and Division of Natural Areas and Preserves on Facebook to see more spring wildflower photos.