With temperatures dipping down into the teens across the state and significant amounts of snow falling in the northeast, this week saw the spring wildflower season come to a halt. Fortunately, our native spring bloomers are readily equipped to deal with these cold conditions. Once warm weather returns, the season should start progressing quickly in the southern two thirds of the state. In the northeast, where several of inches of snow remain on the ground, the season will be delayed until the snow melts. The result of a very early spring followed by mid-March cold snap will likely mean that blooms in the very southern part of the state are likely to reach peak at least a full month earlier than those in the northeast part of the state.
Before the cold snap, the second wave of spring bloomers was beginning to arrive, with dwarf larkspur, white and yellow trout-lilies, giant blue cohosh, and Virginia bluebells joining snow trillium, spring beauty, hepatica, cut-leaf toothwort and bloodroot. As soon as daytime temperatures reach into the 50’s, look again for these species across our southern counties. Our two favorite sites in the south include Whipple State Nature Preserve
in Adams County and Miller Nature Sanctuary
in Highland County, where an amazing 19 species were reported in bloom before the cold snap hit. Hall’s Creek Woods State Nature Preserve
in Warren County is another excellent place to look for early spring bloom if you’re closer to the Cincinnati area. Be prepared to watch the south spring into bloom over the next week to two weeks!
In central Ohio, the second wave of bloomers has emerged from the ground, but most are still in the bud stage. After a quick trip outside this week, it seems that these bloomers fared quite well during the cold temperatures, and many are waiting for warmer temperatures to continue growing again. Virginia bluebells, yellow and white trout lilies, spring beauty and cut-leaf toothwort should be opening this week once the temperatures rise. Snow trillium should still be in bloom at Clifton Gorge
for at least one more week. Harbinger-of-spring will continue to bloom despite the cold, and bloodroot will open once we receive a few sunny days with warmer temperatures. Gahanna Woods
, Conkles Hollow
, Davey Woods
, and Salt Fork
are places in the central part of the state to explore.
Look for early bloomers like bloodroot, spring beauty, and harbinger-of-spring this week, especially in northwest and north central Ohio. But if you’re in northeast Ohio, skunk cabbage may be the only wildflower to seek out over the next week as the snow melts. Now will be a great week to observe its ability to produce heat and melt the snow around each flower.
In summary, our very early wildflower season saw a significant pause this week. But our spring wildflowers are adapted to persist in very cold temperatures, and we are still on track to have a great wildflower season.
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
on Twitter and Division of Natural Areas and Preserves on Facebook
to see more spring wildflower photos.