Woodland Wonders: Spring Ephemerals Sing the Blues

Published on

The spring ephemeral season is nearing its end in Northwest Ohio as the woodland trees and shrubs leaf out. Temperature largely dictates the pulse of when wildflowers bloom and fade on the forest floor. Our rather cool spring allowed dozens of white blossoms to linger for several weeks. These flowers are now mostly gone aside from a stray spring beauty here and there, replaced by a show of blue and purple blooms. Two warm, sunny days above 70°F pushed the fast-forward button on flowering last week.

These are the tail end of the spring ephemeral wildflower show:


Wild violet (Viola sp.). There are numerous violet species that flower in early spring - most violet in color, but several with white or yellow flowers. 








yellow violet





Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans).  This native perennial has beautiful lavender-blue bell-shaped flowers.


Jacob's ladder



Jacob's ladder




Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum). A carpet of wild geranium goes virtually unnoticed until the blooms open one by one atop deeply lobed leaves. Spend a few minutes amidst the geraniums and you are bound to see pollinators stop by for a quick visit.













Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata). The loose clusters of flowers are varying shades of pale blue, lavender to nearly white. 


wild phlox


phlox flower




Wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides). This native perennial bulb was used by Native Americans as a food source. The beautiful pale lavender flowers are attached to slender stalks 15 to 18" tall.