Wildflowers flourish in late spring throughout the New England woods, nurtured by abundant sunshine that pours through a still-bare forest canopy. Once the leaves emerge overhead, however, these so-called spring ephemerals soon fade away within the forest shade.
So, enjoy peak wildflower season while it’s here! To help you do so, definitely check out these three excellent resources.
First up is Wildflowers of New England, a brand new identification guide from Tom Elliman and the New England Wildflower Society. Replete with a thousand full-color images of wildflower species commonly found in the region, the book uses a straightforward identification system based on petal structure, color, and leaf characteristics. Published by Timber Press ($27.95).
Second is the esteemed New England Wildflower Society itself, a 116-year-old nonprofit with a mission “to conserve and promote the region’s native plants to ensure healthy, biologically diverse landscapes.” They offer hundreds of native plant education programs for adults and children alike and are headquartered at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, Mass., just west of Boston, where visitors are welcome to explore 45 acres of carefully tended examples of rare and common wildflowers from throughout the region.
Third is the classic Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, by Lawrence Newcomb, which has been a botanical go-to for more than two decades. The book’s unusual and unique classification system allows you to quickly hone in on the flower species using three simple criteria: flower type (number of petals), leaf type, and plant type. In general, the system is intuitive and easy-to-use, even if you have limited knowledge of flower terminology or anatomy.
Enjoy the spring!