En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - October 02, 2010

From: Butler, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: First to Bloom in Western PA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

What spring wildflower is consistently among the first to bloom in Butler, PA?

ANSWER:

There is no definitive answer to your question.  In the north the earliest wildflowers to bloom are the woodland ephemerals. They squeeze their whole cycle into the early spring while the sunlight reaches the ground.  By the time the leaves are on the trees, shading the forest floor, many of these plants are getting ready to go dormant. Below is a list of early spring wildflowers found in western Pennsylvania. Two of the earliest could be:

Erigenia bulbosa (harbinger of spring) and Symplocarpus foetidus (skunk cabbage)

which could bloom as early as February, depending on factors such as location and winter snow cover. 

The remainder of the flowers on the list could begin blooming in March.  They can't really be put in "spring appearance" order since when a plant blooms depends on its location and microclimate but I do think I could put Taraxacum officinale (common dandelion) near the beginning of the list.

Erythronium americanum (dogtooth violet)

Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)

Sanguinaria canadensis (bloodroot)

Ranunculus fascicularis (early buttercup)

Stylophorum diphyllum (celandine poppy)

Cardamine douglassii (limestone bittercress)  and photos

Hepatica nobilis var. acuta (sharplobe hepatica)

Thalictrum thalictroides (rue anemone)

Saxifraga virginiensis (early saxifrage)

Claytonia virginica (Virginia springbeauty)

Claytonia caroliniana (Carolina springbeauty)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Draba verna (Whitlow grass or spring draba)

You can find more native plants of Pennsylvania by doing a "Combination Search" in our Native Plant Database and you can "Narrow Your Search" by using various Characters (e.g., Habit (general appearance), Light requirement, etc.).

Visit the Western Pennsylvania Wildflowers page to find more photos of the above plants (search alphabetically by common name) as well as many more plants, both native and non-native, found in western Pennsylvania.


Erigenia bulbosa

Symplocarpus foetidus

Taraxacum officinale

Erythronium americanum

Epigaea repens

Sanguinaria canadensis

Ranunculus fascicularis

Stylophorum diphyllum

Hepatica nobilis var. acuta

Thalictrum thalictroides

Saxifraga virginiensis

Claytonia virginica

Claytonia caroliniana

Viola sororia

 

 

 

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Flowering Deer Resistant Ground Cover for Dry Rocky Soil: Alabama
March 26, 2012 - My question has been partially answered in the FAQ but I live in Birmingham where the soil is clay and rocky so it's a little different. I want to plant on a rocky slope (small rocks like the size of...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower meadow in Mobile, AL
January 31, 2009 - I live in Mobile, Alabama. I have 1 acre of land that is partially shaded and covered with centipede yard grass. I would like to completely get rid of all the grass and replace the whole acre with wil...
view the full question and answer

Early wildflowers for PA
November 25, 2011 - What spring wildflower is the first to bloom in Erie, PA?
view the full question and answer

Butterflies attracted by Pink Evening Primrose from Burnet TX
July 30, 2012 - I see information on Pink Evening Primrose that says it attracts 'many butterflies' Please tell me which butterflies and name them? I've looked everywhere and am just exhausted and frustrated with...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for September wedding in Missouri
July 21, 2007 - I am interested in having wildflowers in my wedding in late September. Although the wedding is in the early fall I wanted to have dandelions but I was informed that they are not long lasting enough fo...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center