The wildflower season starts in late March in southern Ohio, progressing north through the middle of May.
When the first wildflowers bloom, it’s a sign that spring has arrived with a beautiful array of colors. You can walk the countryside and enjoy the beautiful range of wildflowers in bright blues, oranges, reds, yellows, and more.
Wildflowers grow in the wild and were not planted or seeded intentionally. The common wildflowers in Ohio include:
1. Virginia Spring Beauty
The Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica) is a low-growing and delicate wildflower that can be found in tree lawns, meadows, and woodlands.
The foliage is close to the ground with sprawling flower stems with edible, potato-like corns.
The long-blooming flowers provide nectar and pollen for insects before many of the other wildflowers bloom. More than twenty-three bee species have been reported visiting these wildflowers for their nectar.
This perennial wildflower can grow to forty centimeters in height with slender leaves and a long petiole. The flowers are pale pink or white with five petals. The flowers bloom from March to May.
The Mayapple flowers (Podophyllum peltatum) from late April to May. Each plant produces two rounded and deeply cleft leaves. They have large white flowers with yellow stamens. The fruit is green-yellow and apple-like.
This plant forms colonies through creeping underground roots. They are common throughout Ohio in wooded habitats and open areas.
3. Common Jewelweed
The Common Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis), also known as the spotted jewelweed is an annual plant, native to North America. It can grow to 1.5 meters in height, blooming from late spring to early fall.
It produces orange flowers with a three-lobed corolla. The leaves alternate on the upper stems and opposite each other on the lower stems. The leaves have shallow teeth on the margins.
4. Common Milkweed
The Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is a fragrant wildflower and is the main host plant for the Monarch butterfly with beautiful mauve flowers and succulent leaves. It can grow to 1.8 meters in height.
The plant produces a white sap when cut. The flowers can grow to around one centimeter in diameter with five horn-like hoods. The seeds have white flossy hairs.
5. White Snakeroot
White Snakeroot (Ageratina altissima) is a herbaceous perennial plant that is toxic to humans and animals. It belongs to the sunflower family with white disk flowers that bloom from late summer to early fall.
It is known to cause milk sickness, which is drinking milk from cows that have ingested the plant. Several early settlers became affected by milk sickness and died, including Abraham Lincoln’s mother.
6. Wild Carrot
Wild Carrot (Daucus carota), also known as Queen Anne’s Lace, is a biennial plant. It is often mistaken as poison hemlock. It grows in well-drained or dry soil. Sensitive individuals can develop a rash if exposed to the sap. It is slightly toxic to livestock.
The leaves are yellow-green and have a feathery appearance. They are alternatively arranged on the stems. Flowering stems develop in the plants’ second year. The stems are hollow, branched, and hairy. The stalks have a red appearance and can grow to four feet in height.
The flowers bloom from July until September. The white flowers form clusters or umbrellas with five petals. Sometimes the flowers have a slight pink tinge with a dark purple flower in the center of the umbrella. When you look at the flower clusters closely, they resemble small birds’ nests.
7. Large White Trillium
The Large White Trillium flowers (Trillium grandiflorum) from April to early May. This is a robust perennial plant that can grow to twenty inches in height. It produces bright white flowers that sit above the leaves.
This wildflower is common throughout Ohio in wooded areas. It is a common wildflower and became the state flower wildflower of Ohio in 1986. They are often eaten by white-tailed deer.
Bloodroot flowers (Sanguinaria canadensis) from the middle of March to late April in Ohio. It is a large flower with white petals with a single left that wraps the stem during flowering. Once the leaf unfurls, it is a large round leaf with lobed margins.
You are likely to find this beautiful and showy wildflower in wooded habitats throughout Ohio. The roots produce an orange-red juice that has been used as a dye. It also has medicinal properties and has been used to treat asthma and fevers. It is often used as toothpaste or mouthwash to combat plaque.
9. Cut-leaved Toothwort
The Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata) can be found throughout Ohio in eighty-eight counties. It flowers from early March to late April. It is a perennial plant that can grow to sixteen inches in height.
It has three leaves that are deeply divided and toothed. The four-petaled flowers are white and some are infused with white. This wildflower is in abundance in the woods. They provide a nectar source to pollinators and are a food plant for caterpillars.
10. Multiflora Rose
The Multiflora Rose (Rosa multiflora) is a thorny shrub that has arching stems and compound leaves. It is a perennial plant that forms dense thickets and crowds out native shrubs and plants. It can be found in forests, stream banks, prairies, fields, and wetlands.
You will see white or pink flowers appear in May. The red rose hips develop during summer, remaining throughout winter. The leaves have up to eleven sharp teeth. There are feathery stipules at the base of the leaf stalks. The storks have thorns that are arched downwards.
This wildflower was originally introduced in North America from Japan in the late 1800s as an ornamental shrub. Birds are attracted to the plant for its fruits, which helps in seed dispersal. The plant can produce more than one million seeds each year. The seeds remain viable for twenty years.
Ground-ivy (Glechoma hederacea) is a perennial evergreen creeping plant that belongs to the mint family. It is aromatic and is used as a salad green in several countries. It is considered an aggressive and invasive weed in woodlands and lawns.
It is easily identified with round crenate leaves that are around three centimeters in diameter. The square stems have long petioles attached. It is very difficult to eradicate. It is often mistaken as common mallow.
The funnel-shaped flowers are blue, lavender, or blue-violet. They are arranged in opposite clusters of up to three flowers at the leaf’s axils. They flower during the springtime.
12. New England Aster
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) is a herbaceous perennial plant that can grow up to seven feet in height. It has alternative leaves that are hairy and rough. The fuzzy stem is home to large flowers that are purple with a yellow center.
This wildflower blooms from August to October and produces dry seeds that mature in late fall. The dark pink-purple flowers attract numerous wildlife species including butterflies and bees.
Chicory (Cichorium intybus) originates in the Mediterranean and has been distributed throughout the world. It was grown as a salad green and cultivation in North America started in the 1700s. You will find chicory in abundance on roadsides, lawns, fields, waste areas, and pastures.
It is a perennial wildflower growing in a rosette of toothed basal leaves. It produces a leafless stem with blue daisy-like flowers. Flowers open in the morning and close at around noon when the sun is at its hottest.
14. Common Blue Violet
The Common Blue Violet (Viola sororia) is a herbaceous perennial plant that is stemless. It has showy flowers and can be seen in thickets, woods, and along stream beds. The leaves are glossy, green, and heart-shaped.
It produces pretty purple flowers with white throats. The three lower petals are hairy. The erect flower stems droop slighting, causing the flowers to bend toward the ground. It blooms from April to August.
15. Common Pawpaw
Common Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) has dark green leaves that hang down from the twigs. The flowers are dark lavender to purple-red. The flowers hang like hats from the bare stems in the middle of spring.
The fruits are light green and become yellow-brown as they ripen in late summer. They are consumed by wild animals. The bare and thin bark of the plant becomes rough as the trunk girth increases over time.
16. Yellow Trout Lily
You can see the lovely Yellow Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) in Ohio from the middle of March through to late April. This is a stemless perennial plant with brown-spotted green leaves and lemon-yellow flowers.
They are very common throughout Ohio, except in the northwestern counties. It is found in wooded habitats. It is known by numerous names including fawn lily, yellow adder’s-tongue, and dogtooth violet.
This wildflower (Verbesina alternifolia) is native to North America and is found in open woodlands, lowlands, fields, roadsides, and riverbanks. It can grow to eight feet in height and is an important plant for bees.
It is also known as yellow ironweed and is a larval host of the gold moth and silver checkerspot. It is a tall and unbranched plant with an erect central stem. The leaves alternate and gradually taper into a petiole-like base.
Flower heads appear on the upper stem with a daily-like structure. Each flower head consists of several disk yellow florets. The corollas of the disk are yellow-green and tubular.
18. Wild Geranium
The Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) is a perennial wildflower common in woodland habitats. It prefers light shade or partial sunlight and moist conditions. It is a herbaceous perennial flower that can grow to two feet in height.
The lobed leaves are opposite each other with toothed margins. The flowers are light purple to pink and bloom from the middle of spring to late spring. It is a very attractive plant with saucer-shaped flowers on top of deeply lobed leaves. They create a mass of ground cover in woodland settings.
19. Virginia Bluebells
You will see the Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) start blooming in woods, steam terraces, and floodplains from April to early May. This perennial wildflower can grow to 2.5 feet in height. It forms large colonies.
Once the plant blooms it withers quickly. The large leaves reduce in size the higher up the stem they form. The flowers are showy and start pink and turn into a beautiful bright blue as they mature.
This wildflower is the most popular spring wildflower with enormous colonies forming in the right habitats. The plant disperses with the help of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
20. Tulip Tree
The Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) is common throughout Ohio with showy flowers and large leaves. It is often referred to as the yellow or tulip poplar. It is the tallest tree in the eastern forests with straight trunks. It can grow to more than one hundred feet in height and four feet in diameter.
You will see this tree on the edges of fields and moist woodlands. It is one of the fastest-grown shade trees, growing more than three feet each year. It produces yellow tulip-shaped flowers. The leaves resemble spring bulbs.
The unusually shaped leaves are square and they flutter in the wind. This tree has the largest solitary flower of all the native trees in Ohio with six yellow-green outside petals and orange-yellow petals on the inside. The flowers bloom in the middle of spring.
21. Great Blue Lobelia
This wildflower (Lobelia siphilitica) grows to four feet in height with a flower spike that is smothered in bright blue flowers in the late summer months. It is an upright plant that blooms from July and well into the fall. Its nectar is used by hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
The plant was used by the Native Americans in religious ceremonies and has been used to treat aches, cure addiction, and help people fall in love. You will come across this pretty wildflower in meadows, prairies, along rivers, woodland borders, swamps, and ditches. It prefers moist areas.
22. Red Deadnettle
Red Deadnettle (Lamium purpureum) has square stems that can grow to twenty centimeters in height. The green leaves have fine hairs with a slight purple tinge on the top.
This wildflower produces bright red-purple flowers with a hairy corolla near the base. They are produced throughout the year and are a good source of nectar for bees. The young plants are edible and often used in salads and stir-fries.
You will see this wildflower in gardens, meadows, roadsides, and forest edges.
23. Dame’s Rocket
Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is a biennial wildflower with white and purple flowers that attract butterflies. The flowers have a lovely fragrance and they are often used for ornamental purposes. They bloom from early to late spring.
This plant has narrow dark green leaves that remain a beautiful green throughout the season. It has an upright spreading habit and is self-seeding. It can grow to three feet in height with flowers and spread up to twenty-four inches.
24. Blue Phlox
The Blue Phlox (Phlox divaricata) can be enjoyed from early April through to late May. It is a perennial that grows to two feet in height. The leaves are opposite and widely spaced with an oblong appearance and smooth margins.
The blue-purple flowers are very showy. It can be seen throughout Ohio in woodland areas. The flowers are usually a deep blue and have a purple tinge. Though very rare, you may encounter a white variant.
The flower has a long corolla tube and is enjoyed by pollinators with long tongues, such as swallowtail butterflies.
25. Northern Spicebush
This wildflower (Lindera benzoin) produces yellow flowers that bloom in early spring before the leaves. It has red berries in the fall. It has fragrant foliage with delicate flowers. The foliage is light green and pointy that turn gold in the fall.
This deciduous shrub is multi-stemmed and can grow to ten feet in height and width when mature.
26. Lesser Celandine
This (Ficaria verna) is a low-growing perennial plant in the buttercup family. It is native to Western Asia and Europe and was introduced to North America where it is now abundant in Ohio. The heart-shaped leaves are dark green and fleshy.
It has distinctive flowers that have bright yellow petals. It is a poisonous plant if ingested and is potentially fatal to grazing livestock and animals. It has been banned in several states and listed as a noxious weed.
27. Tall Ironweed
Tall Ironweed (Vernonia gigantea) is native to North America and common throughout Ohio. It is commonly seen in pastures and meadows with fertile soil and moderate dampness. This upright perennial wildflower has a dark red stem and can grow to more than seven feet.
The end of the branches has saucer-shaped clusters of flowers. Each flower cluster can have thirty or more purple disk flowers. The leaves are lance-shaped and have hairs on the lower surface. The tall ironweed can grow to ten feet in height and is widely branched.
28. Eastern Redbud
The Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis), also known as the Judas Tree, is abundant in the southern parts of Ohio. It has scattered distribution in the northern part of the state. When this wildflower blooms, it is a sign that spring has arrived with its beautiful pink-lavender flowers that open in April.
It is growing rapidly in the wild with a vase shape and round crown. It can grow to twenty feet in height and width when mature. It is often seen on the edge of woodlands. This plant can live for twenty years.
Redbuds suffer from trunk canker, which you will see as sunken depressions in the bark of the large branches or on the trunk.
29. Dutchman’s Breeches
Dutchman’s Breeches flower (Dicentra cucullaria) from late March to early May in Ohio. It is a delicate perennial plant with dissected leaves and clusters of flowers. The white flowers dangle from a pendant.
This wildflower is abundant in wooded habitats, where it prefers well-drained soils. You can find it throughout Ohio.
30. Common Dandelion
Common Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are native to Eurasia and are now widespread throughout North America, it is the most prevalent flowering plant in Ohio. You will see it in pastures, waste areas, lawns, and roadsides.
This perennial herb has jagged basal leaves and hollow stems. They produce a single yellow flower with fluffy seed heads. It produces a milky sap when cut. This plant can grow to twelve inches in height on erect, hollow, and leafless stems.
31. Wild Teasel
Wild Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) was imported from Europe as an ornamental plant. The dried flowers were used in wool production. It is a common wildflower in Ohio and found in abandoned fields, waste areas, roadsides, pastures, and railroads.
This biennial wildflower has leaves that are fused around the flowering stem. It has puckered leaves with scalloped edges and produces a six-foot-tall flower stem that is branched at the top.
Cone-shaped flower clusters form with white flowers with purple lobes. The stems and flowers become woody, persisting through winter.
32. White Clover
White Clover (Trifolium repens) is a herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the bean family. Native to Europe, it has been introduced throughout the world and is common in gardens in North America. It is a low-growing wildflower with white flowers. The flowers usually have a pink or cream tinge as the flower matures.
The flowers are visited by bees and bumble bees. The leaves are smooth and egg-shaped with light or dark markings. It forms mats with stems creeping up to eighteen centimeters each year.
33. Red Clover
Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is a herbaceous perennial plant that varies in size. They often grow to eighty centimeters in height and are short-lived. It has a deep taproot and is tolerant to drought.
The alternating leaves have three leaflets. The leaflets are thirty millimeters in length and bright green. The dark pink flowers have a paler base and are visited by bumble bees.
34. Common Selfheal
Common Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) can grow to thirty centimeters and is a self-rooting, creeping, and tough plant. The red stems branch at the leaf access. The leaves are lance-shaped and red at the tip.
The leaves alternate down a square stem. The flower grows from a square cluster with stalk-less leaves that stand out on either side. The two-lipped and tubular flowers have a purple hood with a white bottom lip. These flowers bloom from June to August in Ohio.
You are likely to see this wildflower in gardens, waste areas, roadsides, and woodland edges.
35. Rue Anemone
Rue Anemone (Thalictrum thalictroides) is a hairless plant that grows in clusters with upright stems that can be up to thirty centimeters in height. The basal leaves have leaf stalks and are round in shape with three lobes at the end.
The single flowers bloom in the springtime with short stems that hold opened flowers just above the foliage. The flowers are white to pink-lilac with yellow stamens in the center. It releases long fruits in late spring.
36. Ohio Buckeye
Ohio Buckeye (Aesculus glabra) can be seen in a variety of habitats that include forests, old fields, calcareous areas, and stream banks. The compound leaves can grow to sixteen centimeters in length.
The flowers bloom in the spring and range from red to yellow, or yellow-green with long stamens. This plant has toxic seeds that contain tannic acid. The seeds are poisonous to humans and cattle. The young foliage, bark, and shoots are also poisonous.
37. Wild Bergamot
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) is also known as bee balm. It is a wildflower that belongs to the mint family and is abundant in Ohio. It has a showy summer bloom of pink to lavender flowers. It is often used for ornamental or medical purposes.
It is a herbaceous perennial that grows up to three feet in height with few erect branches. The leaves are lance-shaped and toothed. The compact flower clusters are solitary at the end of the branches. The clusters can have up to fifty flowers.
Wild bergamot is commonly seen in clearings, thickets, and dry fields. It flowers from June to September. It is very fragrant and used for the oil of thyme.
38. Swamp Milkweed
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata), also known as rose milkweed or white Indian hemp is a herbaceous perennial plant. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators. This upright plant can grow to one hundred and fifty centimeters in height with thick white roots.
It has stemmed branches with clump-forming plants emerging in the spring. The leaves are arranged opposite each other and are lance-shaped with a sharp tapering point. The plant blooms in the early summer producing fragrant pink flowers.
The flowers can vary from light pink to dark purple. The five-petaled flowers have an elevated central growth. You will find this wildflower growing close to streams, lakes, ponds, and ditches where it prefers damp soil.
39. Lesser Periwinkle
The Lesser Periwinkle (Vinca minor) is a short evergreen, perennial plant that can grow to six inches when fully mature. It creates trailing mats with a medium growth rate. The leaves are arranged opposite each other on thin stems. The leaves are dark green with a white mid-vein.
The flowers can range from blue-purple to red-lavender. White varieties have been recorded. The solitary flowers originate at the leaf axils with five petals and a short throat. They bloom from late March and are sparsely arranged along the stem.
40. Flowering Dogwood
Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida) can be found throughout Ohio and is a popular ornamental tree. It has showy early spring flowers, red fruits, and bright crimson foliage. This woodland edge tree produces early spring blooms before the leaves take over.
It is sometimes found in open fields and can reach fifteen feet in height and twenty feet in width. The leaves are arranged opposite each other with veins that run parallel to the wavy leaf margins. In dry conditions, the leaf margins begin to curl.
It has large, flattened floral buds that form at the tip of the twig. The flowers open in the middle of spring and are four showy flowers in green-yellow. It produces green fruits in the summer that turn red in the late summer months, ripening in the fall.
The Butterweed (Packera glabella) is sometimes referred to as yellow top and is native to North America and abundant in Ohio. It is toxic when ingested by humans. It grows in disturbed areas, floodplains, and prairies.
Butterweed is a herbaceous annual plant that produces a mass of striking bright yellow flowers. The stems are bright green and hollow. The dissected leaves have rounded lobes that are alternately arranged. The lower leaves are larger than those higher up the stem.
42. Black-eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) is an upright annual plant that grows to one hundred centimeters in height and forty-five centimeters in width. It has alternate leaves that are covered in hair with stout stems and daily-like flowers.
The flowers appear in the late summer to early fall. The yellow flowers circle a brown or black dome-shaped cone. While the majority of flowers are yellow, you may be lucky enough to see orange, red, or brown flowers when exploring the Ohio countryside this summer.
43. Great Mullein
This wildflower (Verbascum thapsus) is easy to identify with its yellow flowers, fuzzy leaves, and upright appearance. It is a common weed and invasive plant in Ohio. This herbaceous biennial plant was introduced to North America in the 1700s.
It is a common sight in forest openings and meadows, where it forms dense stands. During its first year, it forms oblong white-green leaves that wrap around the stems. The hairs of the leaves woolly hairs are known to cause a skin reaction in humans.
In the second year, the stem will grow to ten feet with leaves tapering in size near the top of the stalk. It produces small yellow five-petaled flowers. It can produce up to one hundred and eighty thousand seeds. The seeds can remain dormant in the soil for decades before they germinate.
44. Carolina Horsenettle
Caroline Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is a perennial herbaceous plant that is covered in prickles on the stem and underside of large leaves. The alternating leaves are oblong or oval and lobed or toothed. The surface is covered in hairs and smells like potatoes when they are crushed.
The five-petaled flowers can be white or purple with yellow centers. The berries look similar to tomatoes. Immature fruits are dark green with lighter stripes and turn yellow as they mature.
The fruits contain up to sixty seeds. This wildflower can be enjoyed from April to October, reaching ninety centimeters in height. It is important to note that the entire plant is poisonous. Accidental ingression can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headaches, respiratory depression, or death.
In Ohio, you are likely to see this wildflower in waste areas, disturbed areas, railroad margins, pastures, and roadsides.
45. Creeping Thistle
Creeping Thistle (Cirsium arvense), also known as Canada thistle, is a herbaceous perennial plant with erect stems and prickly leaves. The branched stems are hairy and rigid. The lance-shaped leaves are irregularly lobed with spiny teeth.
It produces rose-purple, white, or lavender flowers from June to October, in umbrella-shaped clusters. It was introduced to North America from Europe and western Asia in the 1600s. It is listed as a noxious weed in Ohio.
You are likely to encounter creeping thistles in meadows, old fields, pastures, waste areas, prairies, barrens, and stream banks. The seeds from this wildflower can remain viable for more than twenty years.
46. Common Yarrow
Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a hardy, perennial plant that produces white summer flowers. The white flat-topped flowers are produced at the end of the stems and are very attractive. This herbaceous perennial attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies.
It can grow to three feet in height and width. It has an exceptionally fast growth rate and can live for more than ten years in the right conditions.
47. Golden Ragwort
Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) is a perennial wildflower. It is also known as life root, golden groundsei, and St James wort. It is native to eastern North America. It produces yellow flowers in the springtime.
It is a semi-evergreen wildflower that spreads aggressively and provides natural ground cover in woodland areas. The daisy-like flowers bloom from April to early May. It can grow to two feet in clumps. The large basal leaves are heart-shaped.
The stem leaves alternate and is minimal. Sometimes you may see a purple tinge under the leaves.
48. Pale Jewelweed
Pale Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida) is often called touch-me-not. It is a flowering annual plant that grows in moist areas and flowers from the middle of summer through fall. It can grow to two meters in height with light green stems.
The leaves alternate up the stem and are hairless with teeth on the margins. The yellow flowers have red spots. The tube-shaped flowers can grow to four centimeters. After blooming seed pods replace the flowers, which explode when ripe or when touched.
These wildflowers can be seen in wet areas, such as along ponds, swamps, streams, wet thickets, and moist deciduous woods.
49. Philadelphia Fleabane
Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus) is also known as frost-root or poor robin’s plantain. This herbaceous plant can grow to seventy-six centimeters in height with alternating leaves and white or pink flower heads.
The hairy stems hold the alternating fifteen centimeters leaves. The lower leaves are heart-shaped. The flower heads appear in spring and each plant can have up to thirty-five flower heads.
Each flower head can hold up to one hundred and fifty white or pink florets that surround yellow disc florets. This wildflower grows in thickets, fields, open woods, and roadsides.
50. Low Smartweed
Low Smartweed (Persicaria longiseta) is a flowering plant belonging to the knotweed family. It is also known as the Oriental lady’s thumb, Asiatic smartweed, and bristled knotweed. It is native to Asia and was introduced to North America.
This annual herb can grow to eighty centimeters in height. It has branching, hairless stems with lance-shaped leaves. The inflorescence holds numerous pink flowers. It was first introduced to North America in the early 1900s and is believed to have spread via railroads. It is often seen in meadows, forests, riverbanks, and mudflats.
51. Purple Crownvetch
Purple Crownvetch (Securigera varia) is a low-growing vine, native to Africa, Europe, and Asia. It is considered an invasive species in many states. It can grow to two feet in height with small clusters of white and pink flowers.
This plant flowers in early summer to late fall, producing mounds of pink flowers. It is a very aggressive and tough plant and will quickly crowd out native plants. It can grow for decades without fertilization.
It has a deep and complex root system that is excellent for erosion control. It has a long germination period of six months and only creates full coverage at three years.