Wayside flowers are the blossoms that are found growing besides roads, sidewalks and paths. Annual and perennial flowers adapt to the soil and light conditions in order to populate these regions, filling areas like ditches, embankments, meadows and forest edges with spots of bright colors.
Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) is a perennial bulb with fern-like, 2- to 3 1/2-inch long green leaves. The white flowers look like kernels of corn hanging down from a long drooping flower stalk. Dutchman's breeches appear in March and April in moist soil along stream banks and edges of woods.
Jack In The Pulpit
Jack in the pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) appears in late May, growing in good-draining soil with medium shade. The green leaves are oval with long, tapering tips. The lily-like blossom is vase-shaped with purple and green stripes. Female flowers produce bright red berries in late summer. Jack in the pulpit reaches up to 2 feet in height.
Jacob's ladder (Polemonium spp.) has fern-like foliage with leaflets arranged in a ladder-like formation. Blue, lavender, orange, yellow and pink upright blossoms appear in the early summer. Jacob's ladder prefers moist, good-draining soil in cool locations in rocky or wooded areas.
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris) is a 2-foot-tall perennial with mounds of glossy green leaves. Bright yellow, star-shaped blossoms appear in April and last until June. This wayside flower is found in wet areas in woods, meadows and along drainage ditches. All parts of the marsh marigold plant are poisonous.
Shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) is a perennial flower growing 1 to 2 feet tall. Purple, lilac, pink and white petals bend backwards, exposing a beak-like center. Oval, 3- to 10-inch long green leaves with red markings encircle the base of the flower. This spring flower enjoys moist, rich soil along roadsides, cliffs and woods.
Wood anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) is a 4- to 9-inch-tall perennial flower with 1-inch-wide white blossoms. The compound green leaves are made up of three to five narrow, toothed leaflets. Wood anemone thrives in rich, moist soil in shady areas in the woods, clearings and along roadsides.