Some wildflowers and cultivated flowers will ignore the threat of cold weather and bloom despite the chill. These plants typically do not grow very tall and their flowers are short-lived. Nevertheless, they will pop up and blossom, adding some hope to those that are weary of the winter. Such bold flowers include several of the woodland venues of the United States and garden varieties like the crocus and the aptly named glory-of-the-snow.
In the Garden
The crocus is such a reliable early bloomer that many people often forget about them until they go outside and see their familiar leaves that resemble grass. Soon after the flower blooms, and with over 50 different types of crocus, there is a wide array of colors. Glory-of-the-snow, like the crocus, is a short perennial that will not exceed 6 inches in height. It has star shaped flowers in many colors that bloom as early as February in parts of the United States. Winter aconite can withstand the cold as well, sending up a 3-inch tall plant with yellow flowers that resemble beefed-up buttercups. The spring snowflake and common snowdrop give you an idea about how hardy they are by their names. Each of these white garden beauties can actually survive snow around or on top of them.
If you live in the Northeast then the sight of a bloodroot flower blooming assures you that spring is not far away. This unique plant has a large and irregularly shaped basal leaf that wraps around the separate stem that holds the flower, making the bloodroot flower seem as if it wears a green coat to guard against the chilly air. The flower itself is white with a golden center and closes at night, opening up in the sunlight during the day. Bloodroot grows near streams and in the rich soil of the Eastern woodlands. The flower is not around for long but is not difficult to find when in bloom, since the stalk it exists on is as high as 10 inches.
Trillium is another flower that blooms in cold weather; the species gets its name from having three leaves, three petals and three sepals—the base portion of the flower. As many as 42 different kinds exist and trillium, like bloodroot, favors the forest floor, where they emerge as early as the beginning of April. According to the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers,” purple trillium gained the nickname “Stinking Benjamin” due to the terrible smell of its flowers. The odor attracts the first flies of the spring, which in turn pollinate the plant. Trillium grows to a foot in height and in time, the flowers develop into reddish or purple berries.