Forest Wildflowers

Species are listed by scientific name. 
An asterisk indicates a non-native species.

Follow this link to the iNaturalist field guide for Forest Wildflowers of Winnebago County!

Species Scientific Name
Three-seeded Mercury Acalypha rhomboidea
Tall Agrimony Agrimonia gryposepela
Garlic Mustard Alliaria officinalis
Canada Wild Onion Allium canadense
Wild Onion Allium stellatum
Wild Leek Allium tricoccum
Hog Peanut Amphicarpaea bracteata
Wood Anemone Anemone quinquefolia
Groundnut Apios americana
Indian Hemp Apocynum cannabinum
Columbine Aquilegia canadensis
Sicklepod Arabis canadensis
Smooth Rock Cress Arabis laevigata
Giant Spikenard Aralia racemosa
Burdock Arctium minus
Grove Sandwort Arenaria laterifolia
Jack-in-the-Pulpit Arisaema atrorubens
Green Dragon Arisaema dracontium
Wild Ginger Asarum canadense
Poke Milkweed Asclepias exaltata
Purple Milkweed Asclepias purpurascens
Asparagus Asparagus officinalis
Azure Aster Aster azureus
Forked Aster Aster furcatus
Arrow-leaved Aster Aster sagittifolius
False Foxglove Aureolaria grandiflora
Yellow Rocket Barbarea vulgaris
Indian Plantain Arnoglossum atriplicifolium
Tall Bellflower Campanula americana
Blue Cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides
Mouse-ear Chickweed Cerastium fontanum
Nodding Chickweed Cerastium nutans
Mouse-ear Chickweed Cerastium vulgatum
Lamb’s Quarter Chenopodium album
Woodland Goosefoot Chenopodium standleyanum
Enchanter’s Nightshade Circaea canadensis
Honewort Cryptotaenia canadensis
Toothwort Cardamine concatenata
Tick-trefoil Desmodium dillenii
Pointed-leaf Tick-trefoil Desmodium glutinosum
Dutchman’s Breeches Dicentra cucullaria
Shooting Star Dodecatheon meadia
Trout Lily Erythronium albidum
Purple Joe-Pye Weed Eutrochium purpureum
White Snakeroot Ageratina altissima
Wild Strawberry Fragaria vesca var. americana
Wild Strawberry Fragaria virginiana
Cleavers Galium aparine
Shining Bedstraw Galium concinnum
Sweet-scented Bedstraw Galium triflorum
Wild Geranium Geranium maculatum
White Avens Geum canadense
Thin-leaved Sunflower Helianthus decapetalus
Stiff-haired Sunflower Helianthus hirsutus
Woodland Sunflower Helianthus strumosus
Day-lily Hemerocallis fulva
Sharp-lobed Hepatica Anemone acutiloba
Cow Parsnip Heracleum sphondylium ssp montanum
Virginia Waterleaf Hydrophyllum virginianum
Spotted Jewelweed Impatiens capensis
Wood Nettle Laportea canadensis
Canada Mayflower Maianthemum canadense
Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica
Miterwort Mitella diphylla
Catnip Nepeta cataria
Hairy Sweet Cicily Osmorhiza claytoni
Smooth Sweet Cicily Osmorhiza longistylis
Pellitory Parietaria pensylvanica
Wood Phlox Phlox divaricata
Lopseed Phryma leptostachya
Pokeweed Phytolacca americana
Clearweed Pilea pumila
Plantain Plantago rugelii
Mayapple Podophyllum peltatum
Jacob’s Ladder Polemonium reptans
Climbing False Buckwheat Polygonum scandens
Jumpseed Persicaria virginiana
Old-field Cinquefoil Potentilla simplex
White Lettuce Prenanthes alba
Heal-all Prunella vulgaris
Small-flowered Buttercup Ranunculus abortivus
Early Buttercup Ranunculus fascicularis
Hooked Buttercup Ranunculus recurvatus
Swamp Buttercup Ranunculus septentrionalis
Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis
Black Snakeroot Sanicula sp.
Figwort Scrophularia marilandica
Feathery Solomon’s Plume Maianthemum racemosum
Starry Solomon’s Plume Maianthemum stellatum
Zigzag Goldenrod Solidago flexicaulis
Elm-leafed Goldenrod Solidago ulmifolia
Skunk Cabbage Symplocarpus foetidus
Yellow Pimpernel Taenidia intergerrima
Dandelion* Taraxacum officinale
Germander Teucrium canadense
Early Meadowrue Thalictrum dioicum
Prairie Trillium Trillium recurvatum
Early Horse Gentian Triosteum aurantiacum
Illinois Horse Gentian Triosteum illinoense
Late Horse Gentian Triosteum perfoliatum
Stinging Nettle Urtica dioica
Stinging Nettle Urtica gracilis
White Vervain Verbena urticifolia
Culver’s Root Veronicastrum virginicum
Common Blue Violet Viola papilionacea
Downy Yellow Violet Viola pubescens
Downy Blue Violet Viola sororia

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is a lovely white flower often used in gardening, with eight to twelve long, delicate petals. It sprouts in the early spring and grows eight to twenty inches in height. It possesses one large basal leaf, which is five inches across and five to nine-lobed. The flower blooms in mid spring and the leaves continue to expand until late summer, when they go dormant. Their root-like structures called rhizomes expand to form dense colonies of Bloodroot. The rhizomes contain a highly pigmented orange sap that has been used as a traditional salve to treat skin cancer and other ailments, but is known to destroy skin tissue and is therefore considered toxic. The fleshy fruit of its seeds are popular among ants, who are the primary distributor of this plant. Bloodroot is most often seen in moist to dry woods, especially in floodplains and along slopes.

Mayapple (Podophyllum peltatum) is among the first plants to come up in Spring. It is well known for its large, deeply cut leaves that hang like an umbrella. It is not uncommon to see them carpet an entire forest floor. They grow a single white flower beneath the leaves and produce a single yellow fruit in the late spring, hence its name "Mayapple." The fruit can be eaten when ripe (yellow and soft), but are mildly poisonous when unripe.

Tall Nettle (Urtica dioica) is divided into six subspecies, five of which possess stinging properties. The “sting” of a nettle is produced when hollow hairs on the leaves and stems inject histamine and other chemicals into skin. While hydrocortizone and other anti-itch creams can provide sting-relief, consider using a naturalized plant like Jewelweed or Broad-leaved plantain as a natural remedy for a comparable result. When dried or cooked, nettle leaves are edible and rich in several nutrients (in fact, there is a World Nettle Eating Championship! Not recommended to try at home). Nettles have also been used as a textile alternative to cotton, as they are hardier, but their product results in a coarser texture. Nettles grow 3-7 feet in height and have toothed leaves 1-6 inches in length.

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) have bright blue-purple flowers can reach a height of two feet. Virginia Bluebell buds are bright pink before blossoming into the signature bell-shaped flower, which is most often blue but can be found in white and pink variations. Each flower has five petals fused into a tube at its base. Its gray green leaves are rounded, and is most often found in river floodplains or moist woods.

Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum) are known for their long-lived flowers with five round, pink to lavender petals and ten yellow-tipped stamen. The petals are often streaked with darker lines along the length and fade to white at the base. Its basal leaves are long-stalked, three to six inches wide, bearing 3 to seven deep lobes with rounded teeth. A pair of smaller, short-stalked leaves sit at the base of the flower cluster. Both the leaves and stems are hairy. It often grows to form a clump or mound of flowers. Wild geraniums prefer shade but can tolerate full sun if in rich, slightly damp soil.

Woodland Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) is common groundcover in forests, with large heart-shaped leaves can be six inches in diameter. Its sturdy rootstocks create a dense network that creeps to cover woodland slopes. Once established, a cover of Wild Ginger can fend off Garlic Mustard and other invasives. As a woodland native this deer resistant plant enjoys shade and tolerates a variety of soil types. An attractive dark red flower, usually hidden from view by the foliage, blooms in early spring and fades fairly quickly. Although not related to culinary ginger (Zingiber officinale), the roots of Wild Ginger produce a scent that is similar to ginger (or, some say cardamom).