Native wildflowers coming to a woodlot near you!

As the spring wildflowers begin to emerge, many resources are available to help wildflower novices to identify and use wildflowers in home woodland landscapes.

Trilliums are a common and favorite wildflower signaling the arrival of spring in Michigan. Photo: Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant Extension

Trilliums are a common and favorite wildflower signaling the arrival of spring in Michigan. Photo: Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant Extension

When snow fades and warmer weather (finally) arrives, spring wildflowers and other native plants begin to emerge.

Many spring wildflowers are called spring ephemerals because the entire above-ground plant dies back by the time trees fully leaf out. Great Lakes forests and other natural areas offer many opportunities to see ephemerals such as spring beauty, trout lily, and several varieties of trillium.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, “the colors of flowers, their odors, nectar, parts, patterns, and even blooming times are often uniquely adapted to attracting a variety of pollinators, such as bumblebees, wasps, butterflies, moths, moths, beetles, gnats, and hummingbirds. A few even have oddly-shaped leaves or flowers that guide and trap insects.”

The following resources are available for those wanting to learn how to identify wildflowers, their habitats and how to use them in your own landscapes.

  • Michigan State University offers information on how using native plants, such as wildflowers, can produce win-win situations for agriculture, communities and the environment.
  • The Michigan Sea Grant bookstore has a comprehensive guide to plants that can be found in Michigan and other parts of the Great Lakes.
  • The Michigan Wildflower Viewing Guide is provided online by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The guide provides information on blooming times, habitats where certain flowers are typically found and locations of state lands where wildflowers can be found.
  • The Ontario Wildflowers website provides a searchable database, forums, book lists and bookstore. Visitors to the site can look up wildflowers in a number of different ways including by scientific name, French name, family, flower color, number of petals, and habitat.
  • The University of Wisconsin Press published the Wildflowers of Wisconsin and the Great Lakes.
  • You can also find good field guides for wildflowers at many libraries and bookstores.
  • Native wildflowers can also be purchased from local plant nurseries that specialize in local genotypes and can provide guidance on putting the right plant in the right place.
  • For more information on using native wildflowers in landscapes visit.

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