Spring is marching right along with more and more bloomers waking up every day. We’ve certainly hit peak across the state with some places even beginning to fade as the forest canopy begins to leaf out. It’s hard to believe another spring wildflower season is inevitably beginning to come to a close. But not yet! There’s still plenty of time to soak in spring’s bounty of beauty.
The cool, wet, and overcast weather this week throughout the state has kept plants fresh. However, this weekend is looking sublime to get out and experience Ohio’s springtime beauty. Spring migration is in full swing so be sure to grab your binoculars and keep your eyes on the skies, too.
As mentioned last week our wild orchids have begun to wake up across southern Ohio. They’re certainly some of our most popular and anticipated flowers each and every year. Large yellow lady’s-slippers, pink lady’s-slippers, showy orchis, and large whorled pogonia are all in bloom. Species like lily-leaved twayblade and puttyroot will be joining the show later this month.
Our featured wildflower species for this week is the famed Lakeside daisy (Tetraneuris herbacea). This wildflower is as rare as it is stunning and listed as a federally threatened species. It only grows in a handful of locations in the world with Ohio’s Marblehead Peninsula being one of them. Come early May you can find their golden blooms by the countless thousands at the Lakeside Daisy State Nature Preserve. We can confirm this season’s show has started so make your way up over the next couple weeks to catch them in peak!
This week we’re moving up to northeast Ohio and featuring Eagle Creek State Nature Preserve in Portage County At 477-acres with 3 miles of hiking trails available, this gem has one of the best wildflower shows in the region. Preserve manager Adam Wohlever reports dozens and dozens of native wildflower species are currently in bloom. Some of the highlights to keep an eye out for at Eagle Creek include trilliums such as red and large-flowered, dwarf ginseng, Canada mayflower, foamflower, sessile bellwort, numerous violets, wood anemone, wild geranium, and hispid buttercup. The explosion of trilliums in spots is especially impressive. The preserve protects a variety of habitat types from bottomland forests to sphagnum bogs.
Anyone reading this report on a weekly basis shouldn’t be surprised that the southern region continues to lead the way in new bloomers and diversity of colors. Some newer faces to this list include species such as Virginia waterleaf, appendaged waterleaf, sweet cicely, cucumber-root, wild stonecrop, heart-leaved Alexander, lyre-leaved sage, Meehan’s mint, green mandarin, green dragon and more. Others like wild geranium, fire pink, wild columbine, wild hyacinth, dwarf crested iris, Carolina vetch, buttercups, wood betony etc. are in excellent shape!
So many great spots to see the latest flush of wildflowers, but our top picks are: Boch Hollow, Conkles Hollow, Davis Memorial, Desonier, Lake Katharine, Miller, Rocky Fork Gorge – Etawah Woods, Shoemaker, and Scioto Brush Creek state nature preserves. For those who prefer a vast forest to visit, check out Shawnee State Forest in Scioto County—in early Spring, it’s a carpet of wildflowers. You also can’t go wrong taking a hike on the trails near the lodge at Burr Oak State Park as well as Hocking Hills State Park and Forest, Lake Hope State Park, and Zaleski State Forest.
Central Ohio continues to shine as well with dozens upon dozens of species still showing off across the region. Drooping trillium, wild ginger, mayapple, Jack-in-the-pulpit, ragworts, violets, dwarf larkspur, wild columbine, miterwort, and bear corn are just a sampling of what you can find in great shape. Virginia bluebells, marsh marigold, large-flowered trillium etc. is beginning to fade in some spots but peak in others. Our cooler spring has definitely kept things around longer this spring!
Other central Ohio hot spots for brilliant wildflower displays include Blackhand Gorge, Christmas Rocks, Clifton Gorge, Davey Woods, Gallagher Fen, and Shallenberger state nature preserves. State parks are another great spot for a quick wildflower hike. Check out the trails at Alum Creek, Cowan Lake, John Bryan, or Mt. Gilead state parks.
After so many weeks of asking for patience it’s nice reporting that the north region is an explosion of color and blooms the last couple weeks. The earliest wave of species have finished up but things like bluebells, marsh marigolds, squirrel corn, Dutchman’s breeches, wood anemone, dwarf ginseng, blue cohosh, Jacob’s ladder, buttercups etc. can all be witnessed in their full glory. Wildflowers like Canada mayflower, Solomon’s seal, bellworts, waterleafs, mayapple etc. are not far behind.
Prime areas for wildflower hunting include Augusta-Anne Olsen, Collier, Eagle Creek, Goll Woods, Johnson Woods, Kendrick Woods, and Lawrence Woods state nature preserves. Wooded state parks, such as Beaver Creek, Harrison Lake, Mohican, Pymatuning and Van Buren, offer additional wildflower viewing opportunities.
Image by Юлия Зяблова from Pixabay