10 Types Of Winter Wildflowers Including Photos

No matter how cold it is or how inhospitable the climate feels, there are always wildflowers that are able to grow and thrive. 

10 Types Of Winter Wildflowers Including Photos

These 10 types of Winter wildflowers can survive in the harshest of conditions, continuing to provide splashes of color and signs of life among the snow and ice. 

Read on to learn about the top 10 wildflowers you should keep an eye out for when the weather gets colder.

1. Winter Aconite (Eranthis Hyemalis)

Winter aconite is a perennial wildflower that is very small in size, growing up to just 10 cm tall. However, it is clearly visible during the late winter months due to the bright yellow color of its flowers, contrasting with its vibrant green leaves.

The reason Winter aconite continues to thrive, even in harsh conditions, is that it’s very hardy. It can grow in chalky, clay, sand, or loam soil, although it does prefer moist and well-draining soil conditions.

2. Wood Sorrel (Oxalis Acetosella)

Wood sorrel is typically found growing in moist, shaded areas such as woodlands and banks. It’s also commonly found along hedgerows.

Although Wood sorrel flowers between the months of April and May, the plant can survive harsh winter conditions because it doesn’t need sunny or dry conditions.

You can spot this wildflower by looking for white flowers with five petals, contrasting against bright green foliage. If you look closely, you will see lilac veins against the white.

3. Hellebore (Helleborus)

Hellebore is technically a genus of evergreen or herbaceous flowering plants. Because all of the plants in the Helleborus genus are perennial, they can be relied on to continue to grow throughout the winter months.

There are 20 species within this genus, and all of them have flowers consisting of 5 sepals, which don’t fall from the plant like regular petals would.

Usually, these flowers are dark red, pink, purple, yellow, or white. They can also be green. Look for veins or pink blotches inside the petals to identify Hellebore.

4. Barren Strawberry (Potentilla Sterilis)

Barren strawberry is a low creeping plant that grows perennially, so it’s able to survive the Winter months better than many other wildflowers.

This plant produces white flowers that are very small and look almost exactly like the flowers on a regular strawberry plant. However, unlike fruiting strawberry plants, these flowers won’t turn into berries, hence the name ‘Barren’ strawberry.

To differentiate Barren strawberry from other strawberry plants, look for the subtle notches in the petals.

5. Sweet Violet (Viola Odorata)

This low-growing perennial plant is easy to identify because of the distinctive shape of its leaves and the bright hue of its petals. This plant has heart-shaped leaves that feel hairy to the touch and maintain a bright green (Also check out Types Of Green Wildflowers) color even in the Winter.

Meanwhile, the flowers themselves are violet. There are 3 petals at the bottom of the flower and 2 on top. This is very similar to the appearance of the common dog violet, but sweet violet has a scent where the common dog violet does not.

6. Spurge Laurel (Daphne Laureola)

Spurge laurel can grow to a height of 1.5 meters tall, and it flowers from January to April, so it can be seen blooming during the late Winter months.

This evergreen shrub is easy to spot thanks to the glossy sheen of its leaves and the black berries that it produces after the flowering period.

Although these berries are lovely to look at, you should never eat them because they are extremely poisonous to humans.

7. Snowdrop (Galanthus Nivalis)

Although snowdrops blooming is typically associated with Spring, these hardy wildflowers can survive dramatic shifts in temperature, so they can also be spotted thriving during the Winter months.

These tiny flowers reach a maximum of 15 cm tall and can be identified by their distinctive bell shape. The white blooms are supported by an erect stem with two or three leaves surrounding its base. 

8. Butterbur (Petasites Hybridus)

Also known as Coltsfoot, Butterbur typically blooms between March and May, but it can also survive Winter weather since it enjoys moist soil conditions and is very hardy.

The leaves and flowers are both pink, making this plant easy to spot. It grows up to 40 cm tall, and the leaves are proportionately large compared to the flowers and stem. This wildflower grows best in meadows, ditches, copses, and near streams.

A fun fact about the plant is that the large leaves were once used as wrappings for butter.

9. Alexanders (Smyrnium Olusatrum)

This semi-evergreen flowering plant is edible and can be found growing near hedges and in areas of waste ground. The leaves of the plant spiral down its stem and small yellow flowers with 5 petals can be seen protruding between the leaves.

Because this wildflower grows vigorously and biennially, it can survive throughout the Winter and grow to heights of up to 1.5 meters. In addition to identifying the plant by sight, you can try smelling it to confirm the myrrh-like scent. 

10. Yellow Star Of Bethlehem (Gagea Lutea)

Yellow star of Bethlehem is a perennial herb, so named because of its star-like appearance, with 6 pointed petals growing from an unbranched stem.

It typically grows in woodland areas, as well as river banks and meadows, and can be seen sprouting up from the ground from late Winter through Spring.

Growing up to a foot in height, this is actually quite a rare plant, but when provided with the right growing conditions, it can grow quickly and abundantly. 

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, even in the coldest months, there are still plenty of wildflowers to look out for.

Most wildflowers are hardy by nature, but in particular, you can count on perennial wildflowers to survive the winter because their roots will continue to grow beneath the soil even if the top of the plant dies back. 

The main wildflowers you’re likely to spot in the winter include the Snowdrop, Alexander, Hellebore, Winter aconite, Spurge Laurel, Yellow star of Bethlehem, Barren strawberry, Wood sorrel, and Sweet violet.

Diane Peirce
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