Posted in Flowers

Common Spring Wildflowers in Ohio

This post illustrates a couple of dozen, common species of spring wildflowers in Ohio. The scientific name in each caption links to an article where you can learn more about that species (a Wikipedia article, if possible). It also lists the months in which you can expect to see each species bloom in central Ohio. In southern Ohio they will bloom a little earlier and in northern Ohio a little later.

Cutleaf Toothwort
Cut-leaved toothwort (Cardamine concatenata); blooms April through June

The photo below shows some of the foliage.

Cutleaf Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata / Dentaria laciniata)

Mayapple
Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum); blooms April through June

The blossom grows from plants that have two leaves.

Showing the mayapple blossom relative to the foliage (Podophyllum peltatum)
Looking down on a mayapple plant having one leaf; these plants do not blossom.
Purple Cress
Purple Cress, or Purple Bittercress (Cardamine douglasii); blooms March through May

The photo below shows a bit of the foliage.

Purple Cress (Cardamine douglassii)
Wild Geranium
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum); blooms April through June
Foliage of wild geranium (Geranium maculatum); blooms April through June




Spring Beauty
Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica); blooms March through May
Marsh Marigold
Marsh marigold (Caltha palustris); blooms April through June.
Dutchman’s Breeches
Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria); blooms April through May

The photo below shows the foliage of this species of flower.

Foliage of dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria); blooms April through May
Hispid Buttercup
Hispid Buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus); blooms March through May

Below you can see what the foliage looks like.

Hispid Buttercup (Ranunculus hispidus); blooms March through May
Spotted Jewelweed
Spotted Jewelweed / Touch-Me-Not (Impatiens capensis); blooms July through September
Trout Lily
Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum); blooms March through May

Below is a trout lily with white petals. Note that the leaves are a mottled color.

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum); blooms March through May
White Baneberry
White baneberry (Actaea pachypoda); blooms May through June
Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum); blooms April through June
Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllim); blooms April through June; there are 3 plants and 2 visible flowers above.
Bloodroot
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis); blooms March through May
Sharp-lobed Hepatica
Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba); blooms March through April
Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba); blooms March through April. Some are white, or nearly white.
Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba); blooms March through April

While the flower is putting forth new blossoms, the foliage present at that time is from the previous year. So the foliage tends to old and shriveled looking, and may not be particularly noticeable. Below is a photo of the foliage taken during the period while the plant is in bloom.

Leaf of Sharp-loped Hepatica that’s left over from the previous year

After the plant is done blooming, the plant puts out new, green foliage that will allow the plant to create the energy to allow it to bloom early the next year.

The foliage of Sharp-lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) that appears after the flower is blooming.
Skunk Cabbage
Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus); blooms February through April
Virginia Bluebells
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica); blooms April through May

The photo below shows the plant’s foliage.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) showing the plant’s foliage; blooms April through May
Rue Anemone
Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides); blooms March through May

Below you can see the foliage and lighter colored flowers.

Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides)

And below is one with lavendar blossoms.

Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides), photographed March 27th at Cedar Bog
Toadshade Trillium
Toadshade Trillium (Trillium sessile); blooms April though June
Toadshade (Trillium sessile)
Large-flowered Trillium
Large-flowered trillium (Trillium grandiflorum); blooms April through June

The flower becomes more colorful as it ages.

Large-flowered Trillium (Tirllium grandiflorum); when this flower is past its prime, it changes from white to pink.
Largeleaf Waterleaf / Hairy Waterleaf
Largeleaf Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum macrophyllum); blooms May through June

I’ve been told that the name “waterleaf” came about due to the light, drop-like coloration on some of the leaves, as seen below.

Foliage of Largeleaf Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum macrophyllum); blooms May through June
Eastern Waterleaf / Virgina Waterleaf

The common names, eastern waterleaf and Virginia waterleaf, refer to the same species.

Eastern Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum); blooms May though August
White eastern waterleaf with foliage (Hydrophyllum virginianum); blooms May though August
Blue Phlox
Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata); blooms April through June
Common Blue Violet
Common Blue Violet (Viola papilionacea); blooms March through June
Smooth Yellow Violet
Smooth Yellow Violet (Viola pensylvanica); blooms April through June
Wild Ginger
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense); blooms April through May — The blosson lies on the ground beneath the foliage.
Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)
A patch of wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
False Solomon’s Seal
False Solomon’s Seal (Smilacina racemosa); blooms May through July
False Solomon’s Seal (Maianthemum racemosum); blooms May through July
Solomon’s Seal

The blossoms of Solomon’s seal hang below the foliage.

Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum); blooms April through June
Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum); blooms April through June
Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) viewed from above where you can only see the foliage
Jacob’s Ladder / Greek Valerian

This plant has two common names: Jacob’s Ladder and Greek Valerian.

Jacobs Ladder (Polemonium reptans); blooms April through June
Jacobs Ladder (Polemonium reptans); blooms April through June

Jacob’s Ladder was named this because the way the leaves go up the stem reminded someone of a ladder. The flower’s name also alludes to a Bible passage: Genesis 28:10-19. It is also known as Greek Valerian.

Foliage of Jacobs Ladder (Polemonium reptans)




© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2017


19 thoughts on “Common Spring Wildflowers in Ohio

  1. I love your photos,would you mind if I drew a few of them,my grandchildren love my drawings of flowers and animals.It`s something they can always look at and remember me by.You have a very good eye for photography,thank you for the view.It is very pleasant to look at and know this about how our state can produce beauty on it`s own without the hand of man doing it,don`t you think so?Got to go thank you again and please keep taking more photos,your very good at it,like I said before.

    1. Thank you, James. All the photos at our site were taken with point-and-shoot cameras. The ones on this page were taken with two different models of Panasonic Lumix: the DMC-ZS6 and the DMC-ZS20. The Lumix does fantastic macros. It will autofocus on flowers that have very little contrast, and it will let me take macros of subjects that are at a shorter distance from my camera than other brands of camera that I have tried. Before publishing the photos at my site, I have also touched them up with photo editing software.

    1. Thank you, Suzanne. Earlier on I was using a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS6, and more recently a Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS20. Both are point-and-shoot cameras with larger-than-usual sensors. Almost all the photos appearing on this site have also gone through some degree of post-processing using a photo editor (GIMP).

      1. Thanks Deb. I’ve heard those are a nice group of cameras! Check out my website if you are interested. I have taken shots of interesting plants and flowers and used photoshop to amplify what I think are unique patterns and characteristics.

  2. very pretty flowers, I have a ohio wildflower book it tells you where in ohio you can see them, been a great help in iding plants, when I was walking quail hollow, I seen a red flower there next to a stream I looked it up and it was a cardinal flower. I recognize alot of those flowers tho I never seen dutchmans breeches in bloom yet or a few others. will be looking at flowers pretty soon here.

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

Complete the following sentence by typing either real or spam:
My comment is ...