I don’t usually see the first woodland wildflower blooms in Detroit’s Eliza Howell Park until a week or more into April, but the emergence of these perennials is weather-dependant. The recent warm sunny days have resulted in the first blooms along the forest path — the tiny Spring Beauty.
They are easy to miss, starting to bloom when the plant is only 2 – 3 inches tall; the small flowers are less than a half inch across. They are, however, definitely worth a close-up look, even if it means getting down on one’s knees.
The flowers vary in color from white to pink, with darker pink veins. They have 5 petals and 5 stamens ending in pink anthers.
The Spring Beauty grows among fallen leaves and twigs/limbs, in organically rich soil. Almost always they grow in the company of other spring wildflowers, but they are the first to bloom. This is the forest floor where the ones photographed today are growing, as seen from a standing position. One does need to stop and look in oder to see them.
Spring Beauty is a native wildflower of Eastern North America, blooming mostly under deciduous trees before they leaf out. (This range map is from the USDA.)
Depending on the weather, Spring Beauty may be blooming here for about a month. One can see the clusters of flower buds not open.
Many of the summer prairie wildflowers are big and bold beauties. Most of the earliest woodland flowers are delicate beauties. Spring Beauty introduces the season of the delicate beauties.