Saturday, May 11, 2024

Spring Wildflowers

In what now seems like the distant past, I loved getting out in the woods in May, learning the plants and listening to the chorus of birdsong.  I had cornea transplants when I was 20 & 21, so had to be on call for a fast two hour trip to Toronto.  I spent that time in nearby Trillium Woods and never forgot those days. I've been in love with the woods in May ever since.  These wildflowers don't all bloom at once, but I've included them all even though you'd have to go out about three times to see them all.

The woods after it has warmed up but before the tree leaves cast heavy shade is a very special place.  Sunlight can reach the forest floor and the spring wildflowers take advantage of that.  Thus they are known as 'spring ephemerals'.

Soon the woods looks more like this, and the wildflowers revert to building their roots in preparation for next year.  The photo is on the (then) blue-blazed Mac Kirk Side Trail at Old Baldy, where I walked almost every year for awhile, and led several wildflower walks.

Round-lobed Hepatica is the first wildflower to bloom here (if we set aside Skunk Cabbage), and the blooms are often gone by mid-May.

Spring Beauty comes along soon after..

I think of the Blue Cohosh, as the ghost plant.  It comes out of the ground a real purple colour.  It grows so fast that if you sat and watched it on a warm day you could almost see it grow!

Red Trillium blooms well before the White Trillium.

Bloodroot has an unusual leaf that wraps around the stem of the flower until blooming is over.

The dark reddish-brown flower of Wild Ginger lies on the ground underneath the large round leaves.

Dog-tooth Violet or Trout Lily, a very common flower.

Foamflower is not as common in my experience, and hard to photograph when you do find it!

Dutchman's Breeches, supposedly in the shape of white breeches, hanging on the line.

Squirrel Corn, though where that name comes from I have no idea.  These two species have leaves that are identical.

Largeflower Bellwort always looks a little wilted or droopy.

The Jack-in-the-pulpit flower is an inconspicuous green, but it will eventually transform into a cluster of very bright red berries.

And White Trillium is actually one of the last to bloom, and it takes some hunting to find a profusion of blooms like this!  Hope you're enjoyed these spring ephemerals, even though the photos are nearly ten years old!  And Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

It's the big birthday weekend here, three birthdays in three days!  This post is one of my contributions to the celebration.


  1. White Trilliums. down here grown as a speciality.And VERY expensive . Birthdays? Celebrate the three in style.

  2. "Spring ephemerals" I like that. Every flower has a beauty of its own!
    Happy Mother's Day to Mrs FG and a happy birthday to the three that are being celebrated 🎈🎈🎈

  3. I've gone on hikes in the past to see ephemerals along a mountain stream down near the NC/SC border. They have white trillium along with many of the other blooms, but I've never seen Red there. Other places on the Blue Ridge Parkway sometimes have the Red Trillium, but I've never seen as bright as your photo...these were more dark blood red. These photos were most enjoyable, thanks! Happy triple birthdays!

  4. It would be interesting to walk through the woods with you and have everything named.

  5. I can't wait to see my Jack in the Pulpits come up.

  6. What beauties! My white trilliums opened today.

  7. Down here foamflower is really abundant in most places, but white trillium is exceedingly rare. I haven't seen an abundance of white trillium similar to your photo since I was a junior in college (62 years ago).

  8. A nice presentation for us and good memories for you. You know your plants well. Trilliums should be out here, but I can never find red. I didn''t know that red came out earlier.

  9. I wonder how many of these are also native to my area, and though I grew up on a farm with a wooded area, that I've never seen. Thank you for sharing!
    Happy Birthday to all who are celebrating and Happy Mother's Day to the moms.

  10. I truly enjoyed seeing all these wonderful blooms, and who cares how many years ago you took these pictures, they still amaze and delight the eye. Thank you for this wonderful gift.

  11. I’ve never seen a red trillium. Beautiful, but so are all the blooms of the forest floor!

  12. A nice progression of beautiful Spring flowers. I should keep this post handy as a reference to identifying flowers. Like you, I too like this time of year in the forest but with a few leg problems this year, I have not been able to walk as far as I once did.