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Woodland Wildflower Report

Spring wildflowers are early bloomers - you have to catch them at the right time to see them. Enjoy the last wildflower bloom report for this season.


Report Date Area Description of Woodland Wildflower Blooms
5/22/2023 Northern Iowa

Columbine is in full bloom.

5/22/2023 Central Iowa

Columbine, Virginia waterleaf and sweet cicely are blooming abundantlysignaling the end of the season. Jacob’s Ladder, wild geranium, sweet William, bellwort, mayapple and Jack-in-the-Pulpit are still blooming in places.

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Wild for Wildflowers

Iowa woodlands are a marvelous place to visit. Go for a walk in the woods and enjoy Mother Nature's show. 

Looking for wildflowers can be a fun, unique spring activity for kids. It's a great way to spend time outdoors as a family.

Wildflowers can be found by simply walking, or biking along trails, on a hike through a local or Iowa state park or by just driving slowly along a county road. It's illegal to pick wildflowers in public conservation areas, so hunt only with your camera or sketch your finds.

The first flowers of early spring are commonly called ephemerals, which means “short-lived”. These blossoms of spring wildflowers begin to fall soon after they bloom.

What’s blooming in Iowa Woodlands

Iowa’s woodlands come to life with patches of color in early spring as native wildflowers start to bloom. Wildflowers are special because they only bloom for a very short period of time.

Look for these common Iowa spring wildflowers.

Make a Nature Journal

A nature journal is great for sketching the wildflowers you see. It’s also a great way to record your outdoor adventures anytime you are out exploring - your backyard, a park or preserve. Look, listen, feel and have fun in nature!


  • Cardboard
  • Combination of printer, notebook, scrapbooking, construction, colored and repurposed brown paper
  • Scissors
  • Paper punch
  • Yarn, string, or cordage
  • Decorations


  1. Use cardboard and a combination of printer, notebook, scrapbooking, construction, colored and repurposed brown paper.
  2. Cut the paper slightly smaller than the cardboard. Some of the papers may have shapes cut out, edges trimmed with pinking shears, flaps or pockets. (The cardboard for the cover may be in two pieces or in one larger piece folded in half).
  3. Use a paper punch to make holes in the papers and the cardboard that will line up.
  4. Select a stack of mixed papers and bind them together using yarn, string, cordage or similar. Be careful not to tie them too tightly, or it may be hard to turn the pages. You may want to add a stick along the front edge before you tie it all together. This adds strength and goes along with the nature theme
  5. Personalize your journal with drawings, words, cut outs, stickers, etc.


Kick of Summer, splash banner with title


Kick off summer with your family in an Iowa state park or forest! Dozens of state parks will host family-friendly activities such as fireside chats, kayaking demonstrations, guided hikes and more the weekend of June 9-11, 2023!


Find a list of parks and their programs, activity sheets and ideas for ways to explore parks online at www.iowadnr.gov/kickoffsummer. Enjoy your summer in Iowa state parks!



Attend a Local Event

The Iowa DNR, county conservation boards and city park and recreation departments often offer wildflower hikes. Check their webpages for a calendar of events.

DNR Event Calendar

Wildflower Guides

  • Wildflowers of Iowa Woodlands by Sylvan Runkel and Alvin Bull
  • Iowa Trees & Wildflowers: A Folding Pocket Guide to Familiar Plants by James Kavanagh
  • Wildflowers of the Midwest: Your Way to Easily Identify Wildflowers by Stan Tekiela
  • A Peterson Field Guide To Wildflowers: Northeastern and North-central North America by Margaret McKenny and Roger Tory Peterson
  • Wildflowers of the Midwest: A Field Guide to Over 600 Wildflowers in the Region by Don Kurz
  • Wildflowers of Southeastern Iowa -Volume 1 Spring by Don Weiss

Leave Wildlife Babies in the Wild

If you see wildlife babies on their own, let them be - their parents know best, and most wildlife leave nests or dens well in advance of being able to care for themselves. Although broods or litters may become widely scattered during this fledgling period, they still remain under the direct care and feeding of their parents.

Not only is taking in wildlife illegal, it can often doom the creature you're trying to save. Learn more about what you can do to support wildlife babies.