Late April is one of the earliest times someone would expect to encounter blooming flowers in the continental United States, especially in the northern states. At this time, most wildflowers are just beginning to shake off the effects of winter, having had to deal with cold, ice and snow in much of the nation. Nevertheless, some early blooming flowers have blossoms that emerge in the latter portion of the fourth month. These include the ubiquitous dandelion, the bloodroot and a flower called Dutchman's breeches.
The dandelion can crop up as late as November, even in parts of the East, but the end of April is the time that these weedy pests make their presence known first. Dandelions have a familiar yellow flower head that is not unattractive, but these will turn into a puffball of seeds on tiny "parachutes" that blow everywhere and help the dandelion invade lawns and fields across the country. The plant has a taproot that makes it difficult to extract from the ground. By late April, as most lawns are starting to turn green, the dandelions shoot up and seemingly flower overnight. The leaves are edible and the flowers produce wine for those so inclined to make it.
As odd a name as Dutchman's breeches is for a wildflower, it is quite fitting for this inhabitant of the woodlands. According to the "National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers," Dutchman's breeches flowers resemble pale white "pantaloons." An individual could also mistake them for teeth, strung on a series of stems as high as a foot. These plants do well in the moist forests of the East and in the Pacific Northwest. They are fragrant and have leaves that look like those of the fern. Dutchman's breeches bloom in late April and into May.
The blood-red sap that the large root of the bloodroot plant produces gives the species its name; the Native-Americans used it to make dyes. Bloodroot is one of the earliest plants to flower in its range, with some out by the end of March but most averaging around the tail end of April when it comes to flowering. Bloodroot grows in the eastern U.S. and has a very beautiful white flower that has a middle of orange-gold. The plant's lone large leaf growing from its base and looking like it wraps around the stem like a cloak helps to identify it. Bloodroot is a plant that does well in the shade and grows in the woods as well as roadsides lined with trees. Bloodroot is a member of the Poppy family.