Celebrate spring in the St. Croix Valley with wildflowers

Read a brief interview with wildflower experts and attend their presentation on March 26.




3 minute read

The snow is melting, the sap is running, and supposedly spring will soon arrive in the St. Croix Valley. With the change of seasons will come the blooms of beautiful wildflowers that grow up and down the river.

Seeking out flowers is a great way to celebrate spring — not only will you find some beauty, but a closer connection to natural ecosystems.

The Marine Community Library is hosting an event on March 26 with the authors of a recent book about Minnesota’s wildflowers, promising to place “the wonder of our wildflowers within easy reach.”

St. Croix 360 caught up with writer Phyllis Root and photographer Kelly Povo with a few questions before their presentation.

St. Croix 360: What are some of your personal favorite wildflowers?

Phyllis Root and Kelly Povo: We especially love the early spring flowers, in part because it’s spring.  It makes us happy to see marsh marigold, shooting star, bellwort, dwarf trout lily, prairie smoke and others after the snow melts (and sometimes before the snow melts when we find snow trillium).

We also love looking for Minnesota’s orchids– western prairie fringed orchid, calypso, rose pogonia, dragon’s mouth—because they are so special and beautiful. In the fall the vivid blue gentians are a favorite.

Really, we love them all.

SC360: Where are some good places in the St. Croix Valley to see wildflowers?

PR and KP: Two of our favorite places to go are St. Croix Savannah Scientific and Natural Area for puccoon and beardtongue and Falls Creek Scientific and Natural Area where we see rattlesnake plantain, lily-leaved twayblade, Indian pipe, bluebead lily, and bloodroot.

SC360: How can people help protect wildflowers?

PR and KP: Native flowers face many threats from habitat destruction to pesticides to ditch mowing (we’ve seen a lot of orchids and other native flowers growing in roadside ditches), and loss of genetic viability. 

What can people do?  Protect the natural habitat we still have, restore what we can, and create new habitat by planting natives from a local gene pool obtained from reputable sources.

SC360: Is there anything that makes Minnesota as a whole particularly interesting for wildflowers?

PR and KP: Minnesota is the only state where prairie, coniferous forest, and big woods meet, giving us three diverse biomes and also many places where these biomes intersect and create more diverse habitats.  Minnesota also has aspen parkland in the northwestern corner of the state as well as the most peatlands among the lower forty eight states:  over 6 million acres.

We’ve been especially surprised and delighted to find cactus, carnivorous plants, and orchids all growing in Minnesota.


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3 responses to “Celebrate spring in the St. Croix Valley with wildflowers”

  1. Marty Harding Avatar

    We all have our favorite places to find spring wildflowers. My favorites are both in St. Croix Wisconsin, for different reasons. Lions Park, north of town, has a beautiful trail going north along the river. It crosses little streams and goes through wetlands, so it is a perfect place to find a variety of wildflowers in the spring. The other place is Wisconsin Interstate State Park. Parts of Skyline Trail have south-facing sheltered areas where spring flowers will appear long before anyplace else I’ve found. While the Lions Park is flat and wheelchair friendly. The State Park is hilly and rugged in places. I can’t wait!

  2. marknupen Avatar

    check out pasque flower in Namekagon Barrens in mid April

  3. ronstarman60 Avatar

    “Seeing” flowers is one thing … but from observations, too many people feel entitled to pick the wild flowers and rob others of the pleasure of seeing them, too. I think that more legal notices should be posted to get the public to leave the flowers alone!!!


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Celebrate spring in the St. Croix Valley with wildflowers