En Español

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 Wildflowers Questions

Digging up and transplanting wild plants in Alloway NJ
July 01, 2010 - I saw some wild growing black eyed susans in a passing field so I dug some up this weekend and planted them in my garden now they look like they are dying. Do you think they will come back next year ?...
view the full question and answer

What about the Bluebonnets at Muleshoe Bend Recreational Area in Spicewood, TX ?
April 27, 2015 - We had heard about vast field of bluebonnets out at Muleshoe Bend Recreation Area - an LCRA park in Spicewood. We went out today and there are indeed vast fields . . . all where Lake Travis would be ...
view the full question and answer

Storing Rudbeckia Hirta Seed
October 10, 2014 - I just bought and planted your Rudbeckia hirta seed. I have a lot leftover. Can I store it until spring or better yet, next fall? If so, how?
view the full question and answer

Red spider mites in native bluebonnets in Austin
April 02, 2008 - What would you do if the WFC bluebonnets developed a bad case of red spider mites? That is what has happened to many of mine here in Austin. I noticed them the other day and I must have been asleep be...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID–maybe a lupine?
February 02, 2015 - We have a strange plant growing in our flowerbed that we did not knowingly plant. It sprang up last summer and has continued to grow throughout the winter in spite of several freezes. We live just eas...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center