Unveiling the Spring Wildflowers of Upstate New York: A Respectful Explorer’s Guide

Like the chirping birds busily building nests or the appearance of buds on the trees, blooming spring wildflowers are a colorful sign that winter is indeed over.

“After winter, we’re all looking for hope and relief, nicer more pleasant weather. Looking for wildflowers is a good opportunity, a good reason to be outside. It’s sort of like life returning,” said John Gilrein, a long-time volunteer at the Baltimore Woods nature Center in Marcellus in Onondaga County.

Bloodroot: One of the first woodland wildflowers to bloom, the delicate white petals of bloodroot will fall to the ground after heavy rains while the large round leaves can be found throughout the summer. Grace Carlic photo.

Don Leopold, a SUNY ESF professor, is an expert in rare plant ecology and conservation. He is author of several books on wildflowers, most recently, “Wildflowers of the Adirondacks.” He said more than 80 species are conspicuous this time of year in Upstate new York.

Mother nature’s colorful show, depending on whether it’s an early or late spring, normally starts around early April with the appearance of such wildflowers as bloodroot, coltsfoot, hepatica and trout lily, Leopold said.

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