You may have noticed that your daily commute, weekend bike ride or early evening stroll have become much more colorful. That’s because wildflowers are in bloom across our lawns, fields, parks, hills, and roadsides.
If you’re wondering which of these wonderful wildflowers you can spot and enjoy this spring, keep reading as we highlight some of our favorites!
Harbinger of Spring
Any discussion of PA wildflowers that grow in the spring has to include this aptly-named beauty! The harbinger of spring earned its name because it is one of the first wildflowers to bloom each spring.
Distinguished by its dark red stems, bright white petals and the tiny cluster of flowers that sprout from its center, this unique wildflower is a great source of nectar for pollinators such as bees. While this wildflower (which is a member of the carrot family) was once common across the state, it is now largely found in Western and East-Central PA.
There’s no denying that dandelions are the bane of most lawn enthusiasts’ existence. Dismissed as an annoying weed, these wildflowers do have their positive traits.
Not only do they add a pop of much needed vibrant color to our communities after cold, gray winters, dandelions are also given as gifts by our state’s tiniest residents. Many dandelions have been plucked with pride by young children and presented to their parents and grandparents as a gift of affection. Take a close look at your neighbors’ window sills and desks this spring, and you’ll probably see some dandelions lovingly displayed in a small vase.
If you love seeing butterflies fluttering through the air on a warm, sunny day, then you can thank these wildflowers. Another PA wildflower you’ll spot this spring, the blue violet is a favorite food of caterpillars who soon become beautiful butterflies.
Commonly found in fields and lawns across the state, blue violets are not only a favorite food for wildlife, they can also be safely eaten by humans, too. In fact, many Native Americans, including the Lenapes once used the blue violet for medicinal purposes.
Introducing another appropriately named wildflower – the spring-beauty!
Featuring lovely pink-and-white-striped petals, this PA wildflower is commonly found in shady, moist areas of our local woods and forests. Also known as the fairy spud or meadow beauty, the spring-beauty is found throughout the Northeast but seems to be particularly fond of life in Western Pennsylvania counties.
Yellow Trout Lily
One of the most distinctly shaped and colored wildflowers, the yellow trout lily features banana peel-shaped petals that are bright yellow on one side and slightly brown on the opposite side. That brown tinge resembles a trout’s skin, hence this wildflower’s name.
Another wildflower that attracts pollinators, the yellow trout lily is also a favorite of ants. In fact, this smart wildflower encourages ants to carry its seeds underground. Then, after the ants discard the seeds, they grow into new flowers the following spring!
If you’re looking for these beautiful wildflowers, you can typically find them near streams and along hillsides throughout the state.
One of the largest spring wildflowers, white trillium is also one of the most beautiful!
A member of the lily family, white trillium (which means “tri-lily”) is identifiable by its three large white petals, three green sepals below the petals, three pistils, and six yellow stamens. A completely scentless wildflower, it’s another effective attractor of pollinators. Areas of Pennsylvania that are rich with white trillium typically have a high population of white-tailed deer as this wildflower is one of their favorite foods.
These are just a few of the many unique and eye-catching wildflowers you’ll see in our state this spring. Some of the best places to see a wonderful assortment of wildflowers and wildlife are your local PA parks.
If you would like to spend a day spotting wildflowers and observing wildlife in their natural environments, plan a trip to your local PA park!
Not sure which parks are closest to your doorstep? That’s ok! You can access our user-friendly Explore PA Local Parks locator to discover the many wonderful resources in your area.
And if you want to be the first to know about the great events happening in your local parks and recreational facilities, be sure to subscribe to the Good For PA newsletter!