Virgnia Spring Wildflowers funinfairfaxva

Spring Wildflowers and Where to Find Them in Northern Virginia

Bluebells and other spring wildflowers carpet the ground throughout Northern Virginia, which, happily, motivates us to take frequent walks. Here are some of the blooms to watch for on local trails, along with a few of our favorite walks for enjoying these short-lived spring beauties.

Virginia wildflowers

Note: We’re still learning about Virginia ephemerals, and our friends at Green Thumb Gardening provided expertise identifying many of these flowers. We also used the beautiful VirginiaWildflowers.org site and highly recommend it for anyone who wants to learn more about our native flora.

Virginia Bluebells

Our favorite spring wildflower is the Virginia Bluebell, which takes over sandy portions of the Potomac Heritage Trail and other stream valley trails every April. They generally start growing and spreading in late March, and peak in mid to late April.

Bluebell blooms in mid-April at Riverbend Park

Bluebell blooms in mid-April at Riverbend Park

Keep an eye out for bluebell color variations like white and pink blooms.

Keep an eye out for bluebell color variations like white and pink blooms.

Bluebells in full bloom at Riverbend Park, Great Falls Virginia

Bluebells in full bloom at Riverbend Park, Great Falls Virginia

Our favorite place to see Virginia bluebells is on an easy hike at Riverbend Park in Great Falls, Virginia. Scroll down for more great spring wildflower hikes in Northern Virginia.

Red Trillium

There are red and white Trillium in Virginia, but we have mostly seen the red variety on local walks. Three leaves, three inner leaves, three petals; they’re like a beautiful math formula.

A helpful reader shared this tip on Facebook:

By far the most popular springtime activity on the Thompson Wildlife Management Area is viewing wildflowers where, at the higher elevations, a remarkable display of large-flowered trillium occurs.

2 Trillium Riverbend

Red trillium at Riverbend Park Virginia

A solitary red trillium at Riverbend Park Virginia

Trillium party at Riverbend

A cluster of red trillium in Northern Virginia

Dutchman’s Breeches

Adorably shaped and named, these white blooms generally last several weeks.

Dutchmans Breeches at Riverbend Park in Northern Virginia

Dutchmans Breeches at Riverbend Park in Northern Virginia

Bloodroot

Creepily named, but lovely and delicate, these white flowers really stand out in a leaf-covered forest.

Bloodroot at Red Rock Overlook Park, Virginia

Bloodroot at Red Rock Overlook Park, Virginia

Bloodroot at Riverbend Park Virginia

Bloodroot at Riverbend Park Virginia

 

Trout Lily and Toothwort

The yellow Trout Lily bloom and are gone in a flash, but Toothwort stay around for a while. The second picture gives a better view of the speckled leaves of the Trout Lily.

Trout Lily and Cutleaf Toothwort

 

Trout Lily leaves

Spring Beauty

These delicate pink and white flowers grow in profusion along northern portions of the Potomac Heritage Trail at Riverbend and Seneca Parks. They are so pretty!

Spring Beauty wildflowers in Northern Virginia

Spring Beauty wildflowers in Northern Virginia

 

Spring Beauty Seneca Tract PHT

Polypore Mushrooms

I know they aren’t wildflowers, but these polypore mushrooms are also beautiful. I think the smaller mushrooms on the log are a type of polypore called Turkey Tail, but hopefully someone will comment if I’ve got that wrong.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms along a trail in Northern Virginia

Turkey Tail Mushrooms along a trail in Northern Virginia

Polypore mushroom

Polypore mushroom

Fiddlehead Ferns

I know, also not a wildflower, but fiddleheads are so cool they are worth looking for. They almost look like little seashells.

Fiddlehead Ferns at Riverbend Park Virginia

Fiddlehead Ferns at Riverbend Park Virginia

Wild Blue Phlox

Growing in masses along the Potomac Heritage Trail in Spring, phlox looks beautiful mixed in with the bluebells.

Wild blue phlox and bluebells

Wild blue phlox and bluebells

Wild Blue Phlox on Seneca Tract PHT

 

Flying Things

With so many beautiful birds around, be sure to take a break from looking at plants to look up in the trees. Here’s a big Pileated Woodpecker that was hammering away above the trail at Scott’s Run. A hiking family walked right under it but never looked up.

Pileated woodpecker Scotts Run; Photo credit: Katherine McCool

Pileated woodpecker Scotts Run; Photo credit: Katherine McCool

You’ll also see lots of butterflies fluttering around the banks of the Potomac. Remember to stop and stand still every once in a while; it’s amazing what you’ll see.

Butterfly at Riverbend

Where to Find Spring Wildflowers in Northern Virginia

A look at bluebells and other Spring wildflowers in bloom throughout Northern Virginia and favorite walks for enjoying these short-lived Spring beauties.Here are some of our favorite hikes for enjoying spring wildflowers in Northern Virginia. They are abundant along the sandier banks of the Potomac River and other stream valleys. Click the link for hike info and location details.

We’d love to hear what spring wildflowers you have seen in Northern Virginia. Please share you tips on favorite trails and places for a flowery spring wildflower hike in the comments below.

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Virginia DC USA Travel Hiking Nature. Spring Wildflowers and where to find them in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area.

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18 Responses to “Spring Wildflowers and Where to Find Them in Northern Virginia”

  1. d. April 22, 2015 at 6:50 pm #

    Gorgeous, and informative. I really like the Trillium.The Dutchman’s Breeches are prevalent in the Smokies as well. Your review of the Loyd-Wright properties was excellent. Falling Water is my dream. #93 must have been very moving. Wishing you the best from down south.
    -d.

  2. Fun in Fairfax VA April 22, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

    Thank you so much D! You sound like you know your flowers. Do you know what the 2 that I’m trying to identify are? Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a note.
    – Julie

  3. Alanna @ Alanna & Company April 24, 2015 at 8:19 am #

    Beautiful! We have a couple wildflower gardens near where I live but I’m not good at identifying flowers.

    • Fun in Fairfax VA April 24, 2015 at 9:46 am #

      Thanks Alanna! I’m still learning, but now that I know some of the names I pay more attention during my walks.

  4. Debbie April 24, 2015 at 9:10 am #

    Thanks for your post! I never know what flowers I am looking at in the spring. I may head over to Roosevelt Island to see more!

  5. Fun in Fairfax VA April 24, 2015 at 9:48 am #

    Thanks Debbie. That’s how I felt too. Learning about the flowers makes my walks more interesting I think. Have fun!

  6. Danielle @ Where's the Mama April 24, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

    I love flowers and seeing these pictures makes me smile! I particularly love the unknown one you think looks like Phlox. Very cool. And good for you for educating yourself on flowers and plants. I wish I knew this stuff!

  7. Fun in Fairfax VA April 26, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    Thank you Danielle! I still haven’t figured out if it’s Phlox or not. 🙂

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