The Virginia bluebells are fading fast in my corner of central Iowa, but the pink blossoms of spring beauty are still prevalent, along with Jack-in-the-pulpits and striped white violets. May apples (umbrella plants) are near their peak, and the first blossoms of sweet Cicely and Aunt Lucy are starting to appear. Virginia waterleaf won’t be far behind.
I’ve wanted to write about today’s featured wildflowers since Eileen Miller pointed them out near a trail in Dolliver Memorial State Park three years ago. In 2016 and 2017, I looked in vain for colonies of Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea) on my spring walks through wooded areas. Fortunately, Marla Mertz and Lora Conrad have generously shared their photographs of this “delicate” plant, with five-petaled flowers that can be lavender or pink or purple. You may be lucky enough to find these blooming in woodlands or moist prairies during the next several weeks. The species is native to most of the U.S. other than a handful of states west of the Rocky Mountains.