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Spring Wildflowers in Iowa: A Wildflower Photo Collection

Spring wildflowers do not bloom very long. They don’t usually occur in massive displays of color. But they are my favorite flowers to search for. When the first wildflowers start to appear in March, you know spring is just around the corner. After a long, cold, snowy winter, they are a beautiful and welcome sight! Here are some of my favorites.



Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) – Poppy Family(Papaveraceae)

Showy white flower with 8 to 10 petals. If you break open the stem or root it will have an orange-red juice, hence the name. Grows 6-12” tall and can be found in rich woods.
Blooms March-May



Rue-Anemone (Anemonella thalictroides) – Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)

A dainty plant with flowers on slender stems above a whorl of small 3-lobed leaves. May have 5-10 pink petals.
Grows 4-8” tall and found in woods.
Blooms March – May



Dutchman’s-breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) – Poppy Family (Papaveraceae)

A personal favorite. Delicate white flowers with yellow tips. Has 2 spurs that look like an upside down pair of pants. Droops in a row on an arching stem. Grows 5-9” tall in rich woods.
Blooms April – May



Early Buttercup (Ranunculus fascicularis) – Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)

As the name implies, this is the earliest to bloom of the buttercup family. The flowers have 5-7 bright yellow petals. Grows 6-8” tall in open woods, hillsides and prairies.
Blooms April – May



Prairie Trillium (Trillium recurvatum) – Lily Family (Liliaceae)

Erect maroon petals with drooping sepals. Leaves, petals and sepals are all in whorls of 3. Grows from 6-16” tall and found in woods.
Blooms April – May



Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema atrorubens) – Arum Family (Araceae)

This unusual plant has a leaf-like bract or spathe that encloses a flower cluster called a spadix. They are green or purplish-brown and sometimes striped. This is a woodland variety.
Blooms April – June



Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) – Phlox Family (Polemoniaceae)

Even though its name is Blue Phlox, these flowers are pale violet with 5 petals which radiate out from the tip of the stem. The petals are wedge-shaped. Grows 10-20” tall in rich open woods.
Blooms April – June



Large Flowered Bellwort (Uvularia grandiflora) – Lily Family (Liliaceae)

Large yellow drooping flower. The leaves clasp the stem. Grows 6-20” tall in woods.
Blooms May – June



Sharp Lobed Hepatica (Hepatica acutiloba) – Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)

These have pointed 3-lobed leaves. Flowers are 6-10 petals with 3 bracts below the flower. Flowers are white, pink, lavender or blue. They grow 4-9” tall in upland woods.
Blooms March – April



Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) – Purslane Family (Portulacaceae)

These have a pair of smooth leaves about halfway up the stem. Flowers have 5 petals of white or pink with darker pink veins. Grows 6-12” tall in moist woods.
Blooms March-May



Virginia Blue Bells (Mertensia virginica) – Forget-Me-Not Family (Boraginaceae)

These have nodding, trumpetlike flowers. The buds are pink but the flowers are blue. Grows 1-2’ tall in bottomlands or river woods.
Blooms March-May



Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) – Geranium Family (Geraniaceae)

Deeply cut 5-parted leaves. Flowers have 5 pink petals with a long beak or cranesbill in the center of the flower. Grows 1-2’ tall in woods or shady roadsides.
Blooms April – June



Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia) – Buttercup Family (Ranunculaceae)

A low growing plant with leaves deeply cut into 3-5 leaflets. Anemones have no petals but they have 5 white sepals that look like petals. Grows 4-8” tall in woods.
Blooms April – June



Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense)– Birthwort Family (Aristolochiaceae)

A very interesting flower that grows in the crotch between the 2 leafstalks at ground level. The flower is reddish-brown and cup-shaped with 3 pointed lobes. Leaves are large and heart-shaped. Grows 6-12” tall in rich woods.
Blooms April – May


More Wildflowers

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Next spring, take a walk and see what you can find in your neck of the woods. And don’t forget your camera!



precy anza from USA on March 19, 2013:

Beautiful photos! And just yesterday, saw wildflowers blooming in the freeway. They are there on the center along with grasses, I wish they would spread out to make a beautiful carpet of purple wildflowers, but they aren't much for all other drivers to noticed. Well, I noticed them :) But I want others to see them too. They look somehow like lavender. And since I knew now they were there, I look forward to seeing them on that spot on my drive home.

Rose Kolowinski (author) on April 25, 2011:

You are very welcome Jo. Thanks for the visit.

Jo on April 25, 2011:

I have all of these plants, except Ginger on my hillside.

Thanks for identifying them for me.

Rose Kolowinski (author) on May 02, 2010:

Thank you so much for your kind comments. Very much appreciated! Thanks for stopping by!

Dave from Lancashire north west England on May 02, 2010:

ROSE, Late seeing this hub, but glad I found it . Wild flowers is one of my favourite subjects thank you for sharing these brilliant photographs.

Rose Kolowinski (author) on April 27, 2010:

Thank you, oliversmum. I'm glad our spring is finally here. It's my favorite time of year! Thanks for stopping by!

oliversmum from australia on April 26, 2010:

Rose Kolowinski. Hi. What a beautiful collection of Wild Flowers. The photo's are just wonderful.

I especially like The Wild Ginger and The Virginia Blue Bells.

We are coming into our Winter soon, so will have to wait a while for our Wild Flowers to bloom.

Thank you for sharing all these lovely plants with us. :) :)

Rose Kolowinski (author) on April 23, 2010:

Thank you very much, Wanderlust. Glad you enjoyed them.

Wanderlust from New York City on April 23, 2010:

Beautiful flowers and nice pictures !!

Rose Kolowinski (author) on April 21, 2010:

I haven't heard of Pulpit Rock but I have been to Decorah many times. It's a very pretty area. I love NE Iowa! Thanks for stopping by.

Noah on April 21, 2010:

I saw some of these flowers at pulpit rock in decorah,IA.

Rose Kolowinski (author) on March 13, 2010:

I can hardly wait! Thank you for reading and commenting - much appreciated!

Yard of nature from Michigan on March 13, 2010:

It won't be long now until the blooms begin. Nice hub.

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