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Where the Wildflowers Are hikes expand opportunities to see spring blooms

Spring beauties (Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

This spring, the Forest Preserve will host a series of Where the Wildflowers Are walks at multiple locations to showcase the bounty of beautiful flowers that bloom in the preserves.

All of the 2024 spring wildflower walks can easily be found on the Event Calendar. If you are interested in attending a wildflower hike, register online today before the programs are filled. 

Scheduling the wildflower walks as a series this year is new. 

“It makes sense for us to group similar programs across the county under the same name with the preserve location added for ease of use,” said Heather Van Zyl, an interpretive naturalist at Plum Creek Nature Center. 

Also, rather than have only one hike at each wildflower hot spot, Forest Preserve staff decided to schedule multiple programs at some preserves.

“This way, wildflower hike participants will see the full story, what will be blooming next and how the areas change over time,” Van Zyl said. “It is a special experience to visit the same place repeatedly and get to know it intimately.”

Where the Wildflowers Are hikes are set for: 

Fleeting flowers

While weather can affect bloom time, here are some of the wildflowers that hikers are likely to see each month: 

  • March: hepatica, bloodroot, rue anemone, false rue anemone, toothwort, spring beauty
  • April: false rue anemone, Dutchman's breeches, buttercup, green dragon, marsh marigold, wild ginger, trout lily, blue cohosh, blue-eyed Mary
  • May: trillium, Virginia bluebell, mayapple, phlox, Jacob's ladder, blue phlox, wild geranium
  • June: Jack in the pulpit, Virginia waterleaf, Soloman's seal, shooting star

Van Zyl said wildflowers can bring joy to those who view them. 

““The wildflowers are so special, especially in the spring when they are so fleeting," she said. "Spring ephemerals have the added bonus of being the first pop of color after a long winter. Most are tiny and have to bloom early and set seeds quickly before the tree canopy fills in, making finding them something of a treasure hunt. 

“They are more than just beautiful though,” she added. “They are significant to interconnectedness of their habitats, and have been used as important food, medicine and ritual sources throughout time. These are all things that we will dig into on the wildflower hikes. There will be so much more than just hikes to identify plants, though of course we'll do that too!”

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