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Spring Wildflowers in Iowa: A Wildflower Photo Collection

Updated on September 29, 2010

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


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



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    • precy anza profile image

      precy anza 5 years ago from USA

      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 profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 6 years ago

      You are very welcome Jo. Thanks for the visit.

    • profile image

      Jo 6 years ago

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

      Thanks for identifying them for me.

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

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

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      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 profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

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

    • oliversmum profile image

      oliversmum 7 years ago from australia

      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 profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

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

    • Wanderlust profile image

      Wanderlust 7 years ago from New York City

      Beautiful flowers and nice pictures !!

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 7 years ago

      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.

    • profile image

      Noah 7 years ago

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

    • Rose Kolowinski profile image

      Rose Kolowinski 8 years ago

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

    • Yard of nature profile image

      Yard of nature 8 years ago from Michigan

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