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SWMLC Spring Wildflowers!

Spring always seems to go by in a blur . . . the snow melts and next thing you know, it’s 85 degrees and you’re steeping your toes in the kiddy pool!



This year, slow things down and connect with the season by enjoying the spring wildflowers at several of SWMLC’s public nature preserves.

These fleeting beauties have a limited season, and are dependent each year on a perfect combo of sun and rain. The timing is always a gamble so we recommend visiting the following preserves between now and mid-May – and if you don’t find much this time, check back again soon!
Black River Preserve, South Haven

Bloodroot, spring beauties, trout lily

Chipman Preserve, Galesburg

Well known for its spectacular display of wild lupine (!) which will probably not begin before late April and may not hit peak until mid-May to early June. We will definitely keep everyone posted.

Kesling Nature Preserve, Three Oaks

GO TO KESLING! The beech-maple hillsides should be studded with wildflowers!

Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven

Super nice trillium patch on the banks of Dyckman Creek above the bridge.

Spirit Springs Sanctuary, Marcellus

An unusually large patch of Virginia bluebells near the creek that feeds the pond.

Wau-Ke-Na WE Smith Preserve, North Tract, Glenn

Nice patch of wild blue phlox on the forest trail

Trout Lily at Black River Preserve, South Haven

Let us know what you’re finding and please share your pictures using the hashtag #swmlcwildlflowers !

Spring wildflowers in our area are mostly found in forest habitats (though a few are in wetlands, too). They’re called “spring ephemerals” because their bloom time is squeezed in between the first warming of the soil after snowmelt, and the shading of the forest floor by leaf-out. At this time of year, you’re likely to find a cornucopia of beloved favorites: bloodroot, trout lily, spring beauty, wild blue phlox, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, hepatica, trillium, Dutchman’s britches, violets, and more!

Hepatica, just beginning to open, at Porter Legacy Dunes Nature Preserve (not yet open to the public).

It goes without saying that some of these special early season flowers have become very uncommon due to habitat loss. Please don’t pick them or dig them up to put into your own yard – it depletes the resource, pulls an essential plant from the local ecology, and robs other people of the same joyful experience – plus they probably won’t grow well anyway because of their specific habitat requirements.

If you’re interested in planting spring ephemerals in your yard, check out Kalamazoo Area Wild Ones’ Annual Native Plant Sale, accepting order April 5 – May 15, 2021:


Virginia bluebells at Spirit Springs Sanctuary