Think back on your own childhood. How many of your favorite events and traditions involved the thrill of a good hunt? Hide and seek? Scavenger hunts? Easter morning? Children of all ages love these sorts of pastimes. Well, good news, the most exciting treasure hunt of the season is on – wildflowers! Before you head out, be sure to invite your children or grandchildren to join you too. After all, kids are expert scavenger hunters. Plus, wildflowers are tiny and grow low to the ground, making children the ideal size for finding them. So, grab your favorite young naturalist, get outside, and celebrate the return of the wildflowers together this month!
Keep an eye out for these early bloomers!
Douglas’s Grass Widow (Sisyrinchium douglasii)
Iris family ~ 6 petals ~ Less than 6”
~ Usually first to bloom in Spring
~ Magenta, purple, sometimes white
~ Key species for native bees and early pollinators
Smooth Prairie Star (Lithophragma parviflora)
Saxifrage family ~ 5 petals ~ 4-12”
~ Its scientific name, parviflora, means “small-flowered” and has 5-11 small flowers in a cluster
~ Butterflies and moths pollinate this flower because they can easily land on the petals
Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis)
Buttercup family ~ 5 petals ~ 8-18”
~ Ranunculus means “little frog” and buttercups often grow where frogs live!
~ A buttercup is heliotropic which means that its petals follow the sun’s path throughout the day
Enjoy the wildflowers – take photos of them, make sketches of them, sing to them! But, please, please, please remember to leave them for the butterflies and bees! And remember that “Wildflowers grow by the inch and die by the foot” so watch where you step!