April showers bring May flowers…

Scott Felker, Three Creeks Naturalist

Large flowered trillium is one of the most striking wildflowers in Metro Parks woodlands
Large flowered trillium (Mac Albin)

After what seems like the winter that lasted for forever, spring is finally here and so are the wildflowers. That means it’s time to search for blooms in your Metro Parks. True to their name, Virginia bluebells, trilliums and many other spring flowering ephemerals are plants that last only a brief time. They grow before trees leaf out, flower and die back in early summer. By growing early, they take advantage of spring sunshine.

Some fun facts:

A honeybee on a crocus shows that wildflowers are an important source of nectar for pollinators
Honeybee on crocus (Gil Sears)
  • Their blossoms can be important nectar sources for native bees.
  • Ants spread the seeds of bloodroot and trillium.
  • Plants like hepatica and toothwort get their names because their leaves and roots resemble liver and teeth.

Spring wildflowers are a sight to behold in many Metro Parks. Now through mid-May is an ideal time to head out to a park and look for them along woodland paths. Here are five great trails for spring wildflowers:

Three Creeks – Bluebell Trail

Virginia bluebells are one of the most beautiful spring wildflowers in Metro Parks
Virginia bluebells (Chuck Hughes)

From late April to early May, acres of Virginia bluebells flower along Big Walnut Creek. If you look up you can see the small maroon flowers on pawpaw trees. If the trail is flooded, you can also see them from the Robert “Tad” Jeffrey deck.

Clear Creek – Cemetery Ridge Trail

Fire pinks are one of the most striking wildflowers in Metro Parks
Fire pinks (Mac Albin)

On a walk along this 2.5-mile trail, you might see hepatica, trillium, fire pink and Solomon’s Seal.

Inniswood – Boardwalk Trail

Marsh marigold wildflowers spreads across a wet marsh
Marsh marigold (Tim Daniel)

This half-mile loop features large-flowered trillium, spring beauty, marsh marigold and wild geranium. Pick up a brochure at the beginning of the trail for a guide to the wildflowers to look for.

Blacklick Woods – Maple Trail

Wild ginger is one of the wildflowers found in the woods at Blacklick Woods Metro Park
Wild ginger (Al Staffan)

You might find drooping and sessile trillium, wild hyacinth, wild ginger, Dutchman’s breeches and others along this 1-mile trail.

Chestnut Ridge – Ridge Trail

Jack-in-the-pulpit is one of the spring wildflowers you'll find in Metro Parks
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Cheryl Hyde)

Bloodroot, Jack-in-the-pulpit, large-leaf waterleaf, mayapple and cutleaf toothwort are among the flowers you can see along this 1-mile trail.

 

Send your best wildflower photos to media@metroparks.net and tell us what you’ve seen on the trails.

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