This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kris Spaeth/USFWS via CC BY 2.0.

By Ellery Weil

April 15, 2024

Ah, spring in the Mitten. After a long wolverine winter, everyone is happy to enjoy warmer weather and later sunsets, and are maybe even starting to think about the beginning of the Oberon season. But for gardeners, hikers, and other nature lovers across the state, spring means that Michigan is in bloom — literally!

With Earth Day coming up on April 22, 2024, what better way to celebrate than taking some time to stop and smell the roses? Or, if not the roses, some of these beautiful spring blooms native to Michigan? Have a look, and maybe you can build your own Michigan wildflower bouquet.

Marsh Marigold

“They call me sweet buttercup?” Close, but not quite!

Many Michiganders recognize the marsh marigold on-site for its bright, sunny yellow buttercup-like blooms. These flowers, which are related to buttercups but are a separate species, bloom in the early spring and, true to their name, thrive in damp environments like marshes, puddles, and riverbeds.

Many Michiganders cultivate marsh marigolds in gardens, especially near a creek or an ornamental pond, but you can also spot these beauties out and about in the wild.

This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

Photo courtesy of Acabashi via CC BY-SA 4.0.

Common Trillium

Even though it has the word “common” in its name, trillium is an extraordinary plant. These spring-blooming plants, with their distinctive three-petaled flowers, come in a multitude of colors and varieties, including four subtypes that are protected in Michigan: toadshade, prairie trillium, snow trillium, and the endangered painted trillium.

Other species, like red trillium and drooping trillium, are less threatened, but just as lovely to look at. Remember, while you can’t pick or plant protected trillium species, common trillium is safe to have in your garden, so enjoy!

This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

Photo courtesy of Acabashi via CC BY-SA 4.0.

Celandine Poppy

When you think of poppies, you may think of bright red blossoms and Dorothy getting sleepy in The Wizard of Oz, but the celandine poppy, Michigan’s only native poppy, is something else entirely.

These buttery yellow blooms are found from Canada to Kentucky and thrive in rich, damp soil like you might find along riverbeds. Native Americans traditionally used this vividly-colored plant to make dye, but if you’re planning to try this yourself, watch out — you could end up with badly stained hands!

This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

Photo courtesy of Phyzome via CC BY-SA 3.0.

Wild Geranium

It’s funny that something as delicate as the pale lilac blooms of a wild geranium can be so hardy, but looks can be deceiving!

These perennials, which can grow to two feet tall and live for years, bloom every spring, and can stand up to the harsh Michigan winters only to bloom again when the weather warms. Because they’re relatively easy to care for, wild geranium can be a gardener’s favorite. But you can also spot it while out for a wander in the Mitten’s forests.

Recently, wild geranium has also turned up in unlikely places—like skincare!

This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kris Spaeth/USFWS via CC BY 2.0.

Dutchman’s Breeches

Wait a minute, did we say “plants” or “pants”? In the case of Dutchman’s breeches, it can be a tricky question!

This perennial, also known as “little blue staggers” (due to the toxic effects they have when ingested) or “bleeding heart,” earned its unusual name from the resemblance its white flowers bear to an upside-down pair of pantaloon-style breeches!

These plants, which are related to the poppy family, thrive in the shade, so keep your eyes open the next time you’re in a wooded area and see if you can spot them.

This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

Photo courtesy of Jason Hollinger via CC BY 2.0.

This article first appeared on Good Info News Wire and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.This Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to MichiganThis Earth Day, stop and smell these 5 flowers native to Michigan

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