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Woodland spring ephemerals

13 Woodland Spring Ephemerals

Dutchman's Breeches flowers
Dutchman's Breeches

Spring ephemerals are a sublime gift of nature at the end of a long cold winter. These early woodland wildflowers occupy a short yet glorious interval in the woodland, blooming and setting seed during a small window of time between snowmelt and when the trees leaf-out.

Their brief presence in the woodland is connected to the lives of numerous other members of a community, all participating in beneficial exchanges at a critical intersection in their lives. Consider adding these harbingers of spring to your shaded garden or woods.

The first to bloom in spring, ephemeral flowers are a critical source of nectar and pollen for bumble bees, mining bees, various flies and gnats.

Woodland Ephemerals' Habitat

Woodland plants grow among the rich humousy soil created by leaf litter. This leafy environment is also home to myriad insects that interact with the spring ephemerals.

Importance To Pollinators

The first to bloom in spring, ephemeral flowers are a critical source of nectar and pollen for bumble bees, mining bees, various flies and gnats. An abundance of these early blooms helps to lay the foundation for healthy bumble bee numbers all season long. Unlike bumble bees, which can feed from a wide range of flowers, many early pollinators are picky eaters that collect nectar and pollen only from one group of closely related plants.

The 13 species in this collection comprise some of the most common spring wildflowers in Wisconsin's deciduous forests.

Spring Ephemerals Catalog

Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis

Bloodroot

Genus-Species: Sanguinaria canadensis
Benefits: Bees
Height: 6-9 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-8
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium
Color: Pink, White

Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis

Columbine

Genus-Species:
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 1-3 feet
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 2-8
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Red, Yellow

Common Blue Violet, Viola sororia

Common Blue Violet

Wisconsin's State Flower

Genus-Species: Viola sororia
Benefits: Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Height: 6-12 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade
Zones: 4-7
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Moist
Color: Blue, Pink, Purple, White

Dutchman's Breeches, Dicentra cucullaria

Dutchman's Breeches

Genus-Species: Dicentra cucullaria
Benefits: Bees
Height: 6-12 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-7
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Moist, Wet
Color: White, Pink, Yellow

Jack-In-The-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum

Jack-In-The-Pulpit

Genus-Species: Arisaema triphyllum
Benefits: N/A
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time:Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 4-9
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: Green

Sharp-Leaved Hepatica, Hepatica acutiloba

Sharp-Leaved Hepatica

Genus-Species: Hepatica acutiloba
Benefits: Bees
Height: ¼-½ inch
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 4-6
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Pink, Lavender

Shooting Star, Dodecatheon meadia

Shooting Star

Genus-Species: Dodecatheon meadia
Benefits: Bees
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade
Zones: 4-8
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Pink, Lavender, White

Spring Beauty, Claytonia virginica

Spring Beauty

Genus-Species: Claytonia virginica
Benefits: Bees
Height: 6-9 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-9
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Pink, White

Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium

Genus-Species: Trillium grandiflorum
Benefits: Bees
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-7
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Pink, White

White Trout Lily, Erythronium albidum

White Trout Lily

Genus-Species: Erythronium albidum
Benefits: Bees
Height: 6-12 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-8
Soil: Acid
Moisture:Medium
Color: White

Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

Virginia Bluebells

Genus-Species: Mertensia virginica
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade
Zones: 3-9
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Blue, Lavender

White Doll's Eyes, Actaea alba

White Doll's Eyes

Genus-Species: Actaea alba
Benefits: Butterflies
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-8
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium
Color: White

Wood Anemone, Anemone quinquefolia

Wood Anemone

Genus-Species: Anemone quinquefolia
Benefits: Bees
Height: 6-12 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3-8
Soil: Loam, Rocky
Moisture: Moist, Wet
Color: Green, White, Brown

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