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What are the True Spring Ephemerals?

15 years ago

Spring ephemerals are early blooming, short-lived wildflowers that emerge in early spring and disappear by early summer. They develop above-ground parts in March or April, quickly flower and go to seed, then die back to their underground parts by May or June.

Other early spring bloomers maintain above-ground growth throughout the summer. These include Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Rue Anemone, Wild Ginger, the hepaticas, and most of the trilliums.

A web search for "spring ephemerals" will return many lists, most of which (including Wikipedia) include early spring bloomers that maintain above-ground growth through the summer.

Here is a tentative list of "true" spring ephemerals. (Only those that occur in Minnesota are included.) Are there any that do not belong on this list? Are there any that are missing?

American Pasqueflower (Anemone patens var. multifida)

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)

Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata)

DutchmanÂs Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

Eastern False Rue Anemone (Enemion biternatum)

Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)

Jeweled Shooting Star (Dodecatheon amethystinum)

Minnesota Dwarf Trout Lily (Erythronium propullans)

Prairie Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia var. meadia)

Snow Trillium (Trillium nivale)

Squirrel Corn (Dicentra canadensis)

Twinleaf (Jeffersonia diphylla)

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Virginia Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica var. virginica)

White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)

Wild Leek (Allium tricoccum var. tricoccum)

Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia var. quinquefolia)

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium Americanum)

Here is a link that might be useful: Spring Ephemerals

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