Some wildflowers get a jump on the rest of the plant kingdom, blooming in the springtime before many other types do so. Some of these flowers are among the first to emerge year after year in woodlands across the United States. In some cases, their flowers are long gone even before the middle of the season. Flowers such as the trillium, bloodroot and hepatica beat almost all others when it comes to blooming early, while other species wait until the warmth of the May sun has made the rains of April and March’s chill a memory.
Hepaticas bloom so early in the spring that they often have flowers before the new growth of leaves replaces the fading foliage of the previous year. These flowers grow well in moist forests aided by the mold from dead leaves. They have hairy stems and petals, and their colors vary from blue to white. The bloodroot plant, with its one large leaf that envelops the stem, is a harbinger of spring in the Northeast, emerging sometimes before all the snow is gone from the ground. It has white petals and a golden center, and the flower closes at night, according to the “National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers.” Trilliums also punch the clock early in terms of their flowers, coming out in early spring. The plant has three leaves, and the flowers possess three petals; trilliums grow in the East and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. Some trilliums have awful-smelling blossoms that attract flies to pollinate them.
The backward-pointing petals of its flower give shooting stars their name. They bloom from April through June and have thick leaves that grow up around their bases. Trailing arbutus blooms through the end of May, growing on a creeping stem that contains evergreen leaves. It is Massachusetts’ state flower but is now rare from overpicking. Spring beauties grow in large clusters in many places throughout their range, making a landscape come alive with foot-tall pink blooms. Violets, with their heart-shaped foliage and purple flowers with five petals, grow on lawns and forest borders. Some, such as the Canada violet, are white.
Blue Spring Flowers
Many types of blue wildflowers burst forth in the spring months. Bluebells are flowers that droop on their stems and look like bells, growing in both the Mid-Atlantic and the Far West. They are sometimes as tall as 2 feet. Bluets, in comparison, are much smaller, existing in large colonies; bluets frequently grow in old cemeteries during the spring, adorning the graves of those long forgotten. Camas, also called wild hyacinth, are relatives of the onion. They are much more pleasing to the eye, with erect stalks of spreading blue flowers. Some 35 different types of vetches, a climbing vinelike plant with bluish flowers, blossom in the latter part of spring across the nation.