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Mr. Smarty Plants - Early spring wildflowers of Pennsylvania

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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

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