Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - September 30, 2011

From: Weedville, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Herbs/Forbs, Wildflowers
Title: Early spring wildflowers of Pennsylvania
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

What native wildflower is the first to bloom in Weedville, Pa? (Jay township, Elk county) I am working on a research paper for my Environmental Problems class, and this would be very helpful. Thank you.

ANSWER:

This question was recently answered for another Pennsylvania enquirer.  The answer is reproduced below.  

Below is a list of early spring wildflowers found in western Pennsylvania.  The two earliest would be those blooming in February:

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

The remainder of the flowers on the list begin blooming in March.  I don't know that I could put them in "spring appearance" order, since there can be variation from one microclimate to another, 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)  

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.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Harbinger of spring
Erigenia bulbosa

Skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus

Yellow trout-lily
Erythronium americanum

Trailing arbutus
Epigaea repens

Bloodroot
Sanguinaria canadensis

Early buttercup
Ranunculus fascicularis

Celandine poppy
Stylophorum diphyllum

Sharplobe hepatica
Hepatica nobilis var. acuta

Rue anemone
Thalictrum thalictroides

Early saxifrage
Saxifraga virginiensis

Virginia springbeauty
Claytonia virginica

Carolina springbeauty
Claytonia caroliniana

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
December 14, 2008 - I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a ...
view the full question and answer

Chile pequin not ripening to red from Marlborough MA
September 14, 2012 - I have a healthy Chile Pequin in Marlborough, MA, flowering and fruiting profusely. But, the fruit are not ripening to red, as did their parent plants in Florida. Fruit go from green to deep purple ...
view the full question and answer

Dietes bicolor(Bicolor Iris) winter-hardiness in Austin
February 09, 2010 - I have many bi-color irises (dietes bicolor), the freeze in Austin turned them brown. Can I trim them back without harming the plants? If trimming is acceptable, can you give me tips?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for gravesite in North Central Massachusetts
May 18, 2008 - I live in North Central Mass. Would like to plant something on my parents gravesite that would not be invasive or require a lot of care. Any suggestions? I just took 2 shrubs out that had become way...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaf problem with herbaceous blooming plants from Greenfield MA
May 28, 2014 - I have 3 plants cimicifuga brunette and lots of astile planted near each other. Suddenly the edges of leaves have turned brown and shriveled and spread to entire plant, all of them. It has not been ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.