A spring growth pattern can challenge some plants. The danger of freezing temperatures still exists. Some regions may experience spring flooding, which creates ephemeral ecosystems such as prairie potholes and ephemeral wetlands. While there are challenges, there are also benefits. Competition for resources is minimal. In forests, spring wildflowers take advantage of sunlight reaching the forest floor while the tree canopy has yet to grow. Many plants may have short growth periods before more intense plant growth begins.
Woodland environments provide habitat for early-blooming spring wildflowers such as Dutchman breeches, violets and spring beauty.
Some wetland plants such as skunk cabbage will begin to emerge even when there is still snow on the ground.
Smaller prairie plants such as sideoats grama and prairie smoke will flower early in the spring to avoid competition and shading from taller prairie grasses.
Cool Season Grasses
Lawns often consist of a variety of cool season grasses such as Kentucky bluegrass and fescue, which will begin growing during the cooler spring months.
Early Season Vegetables
Early season vegetables such as asparagus and peas prefer the cooler temperatures of spring.
- "Newcomb's Wildflower Guide"; Lawrence Newcomb; 1977
- Iowa State University Extension: Introduction to Iowa Native Prairie Plants
- Colorado State University Extension: Early Season Vegetables
- USDA Plant Database
- Wildlife Information
spring plants, spring wildflowers, cool season grasses
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