Friday, April 1, 2016

Carpets of color or solitary works of art...

Spring wildflowers are one of nature’s most anticipated events as winter fades away. These plants have a burst of growth and bloom after the snow melts, before the trees leaf out and block the nourishing sunlight. These colorful signs of spring last a short time, so explore Lake Metroparks and enjoy the show!

Blooms begin in early April and last into June, but typically the best times to view large numbers or a good variety of wildflowers are the last week of April and the first week of May. To see the greatest variety of flowers, visit the parks more than once during their short blooming season.

Spring wildflowers can be seen in almost every park, but the following have the best displays or easiest access:

Hogback Ridge Park (HR) – Follow the boardwalk on Hemlock Ridge Loop Trail or venture down 140 steps to the floodplain and the Bluebell Valley Path

Indian Point Park (IP) – Drive along Seeley Road by the bridge

Big Creek at Liberty Hollow (LH) – The short trail along the Big Creek floodplain hosts a wide variety of spring wildflowers

Penitentiary Glen Reservation (PG) – A short paved trail leads to the Wildflower Garden near the gorge overlook deck; others bloom along the Kirtland-Connector Trail

Wildflower descriptions are listed according to their blooming times, starting with the earliest:

Bloodroot blooms in early April and gets its name from its red sap. 
IP, LH, PG • April 1–20 

Spring beauty is one of the more hardy spring wildflowers and may be
found growing in untreated lawns as well as their traditional woodland home.
HR, IP, LH, PG • April 1–May 10 

Trout lily leaves are mottled, with a pattern similar to a trout. Another common 
name is Adder’s tongue, referring to the fruit that resembles a snake’s head. 
HR, IP, LH, PG • April 15-May 1

Squirrel corn, with lacy fernlike leaves, has nodules on the roots that 
look like corn kernels. This flower is a wild cousin of the 
garden variety bleeding heart. HR, IP, LH • April 15–May 5

Large-flowered trillium, Ohio’s state Wildflower, is a favorite food for deer
and is rarely found in areas with large deer populations.
HR, IP, LH, PG • April 15–May 15

Virginia bluebells are often seen as a blue sea of flowers, carpeting floodplains 
near streams. The flower buds are pink and become blue as they open. 
HR, IP, LH, PG • April 20–May 15

Wild geraniums prefer floodplain areas and are also known as
cranesbill, because the stamen resembles the bill of a crane. 
The word “geranium” means crane in Greek.  
HR, IP, LH, PG • April 25–May 15

Wild blue phlox is a distant ancestor of the garden phlox. It was 
taken back to Europe by early settlers, cultivated there, 
and brought back as a garden plant. 
HR, IP, LH, PG • May 1–20 

Jack-in-the-pulpit can live in drier woods where other flowers 
don’t thrive. They are not a favorite food for deer, so they are 
often found in parks that have few other wildflowers. 
HR, IP, LH, PG • May 1-June 1

The distinct umbrella-like leaves of the Mayapple are often seen 
in April, but the blooms do not normally arrive until mid-May. 
Its fruit is a preferred wildlife food. 
HR, IP, LH, PG • May 5–June 1

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