7 Wildflowers to Peep this Spring
April showers bring May flowers, and last year’s heavy rains across the south and west coast are creating an epic wildflower super bloom here in the United States. America the Beautiful indeed!
You know over at 50ROOTS it doesn’t take much for us to want to gas up the car and hit the open American road. Right now, it’s pretty hard to resist the urge to get out and see some of this floral wonder ourselves. A roadside washed in color? A mountainside blanketed with flowers? Yes, please!
If you can make the trip, here are 7 Wildflowers you might come across on your floral journey.
This flower has rightfully earned fame – and let’s be honest, some notoriety. From the sleep-inducing fields in The Wizard of Oz to the plastic poppies now associated with Remembrance Day and Flanders Fields, the state flower of California is as rich in symbolism as it is in beauty and potency. Yes, it’s true these simple, gorgeous flowers are used to make opium. But edible poppies can also be used to make calming teas or garnishes that don’t carry the same heavy narcotic effects. Just drinking in the vision of lush fields and mountain sides full of these orange or red beauties can be hypnotizing on its own!
These native North American beauties with sunny yellow petals and a rich black center are in the sunflower group, and it’s easy to see the family resemblance. Found blooming from June to August, these wildflowers can be found all over the United States. The Old Line State seems to be particularly fond of these yellow flowers however; Maryland made the The Black-eyed Susan its state flower on April 18, 1918. A classic American favorite!
Every spring, sweeping patches of the Lonestar State are transformed into royal-blue clusters of delight as bluebonnets cover everything from farm land to highway medians. These bold, bright blue flowers are the pride of Texas, and while they became the state’s official flower in 1901, the lore around them is older than Texas itself. According to Native American legends, after a particularly cruel spell of weather, a little girl sacrificed her most beloved possession – a little corn husk doll with a deerskin robe, horse hair braids and blue feathers – to the Great Spirit. After burning the doll and spreading her ashes east, north, west and south, the little girl went to sleep and awoke the next morning to a landscape covered in bluebonnets. However they came to be, it’s worth a roadtrip to drink in their beauty.
Native to North America, Evening Primrose got it’s name for its preference to show off its bloom in the evening hours. Varying in an assortment of colors from pale pink, golden yellow and rosy red, these night blooms open in the late afternoon and close at sunrise. Evening Primrose has as much a place in your kitchen and medicine cabinet as it does in your garden. The leaves and flowers are edible, and the seeds are an excellent source of omega-6. In fact, Evening Primrose Oil can be found in medicinal formulas that target support for everything from PMS to blood pressure. They’re so beneficial they earned the nicknamed the “King’s Cure-All” in 17th century Europe
If there’s a better example of the beauty in simplicity, we can’t think of one. Originally native to Europe and Asia, the Daisy took so well to the United States that it can now be found growing wild all across the country. A favorite of professional florists and frolicking children alike, the daisy could be one of the most gifted flowers around. What’s sweeter than a daisy chain from a young child? They do represent purity and innocent after all. And here’s a fun fact: did you know the white petals and yellow disc are considered two separate flowers?
Is it a flower or a weed? Well, that depends on who you ask. It’s a matter of perception, of course. These yellow bursts can be the bain of your lawn guy’s existence, but ask your local herbalist about them and you’ll get a completely different story. Dandelion flowers and their greens are incredibly nutritious, toting antioxidants and vitamins A, C, K, E, and B. They’re a great source of fiber, and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium too. Kinda makes you wonder why they get such a bad wrap!
Maybe we should have put this one first instead of last since for many Americans – especially those living in our northern states – these bright bouquets of hope are often the first sign of spring and a much welcomed thaw. Popping up as early as late winter and often through patches of snow, these purple, white, or yellow flowers are always a welcome sight. And while they may be more welcome than a groundhog who doesn’t see his shadow, they aren’t the best for an indoor springtime floral arrangements. These little beauties don’t have stems!
Keep your eyes open for the simple pleasures all around us, and don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers. From sea to shining sea, there’s so much beauty if you look for it. Happy Spring, America!