Ohioans will soon be treated to a spectacular display of native spring wildflowers.
This year’s season began in late March in Ohio’s southern counties and gradually will move northward as the season comes to an end in the middle of May, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
“Spring is one of the most magical times of year in Ohio,” said ODNR Director Mary Mertz. “Spring welcomes an array of colorful wildflowers, which line trails and hillsides all over the state. Hiking is a great way to get outdoors to see spring wildflowers and reconnect with nature after the chill of the winter months.”
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.
A few of the most widespread and often observed spring wildflowers include spring beauty, Dutchman’s-breeches, large flowered trillium, Jack-in-the-pulpit, wild geranium, mayapple, Solomon’s-seal and Virginia bluebells.
For more information on spring wildflowers in Ohio, check out the Ohio Wildflower Bloom Report at naturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/wildflowers. 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.