Photos: Spring wildflowers in southern Minnesota state parks

Spring wildflowers in Minnesota
Trout lilies in bloom on Tuesday at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park near Nerstrand, Minn. These are "regular" trout lilies — but the park is also home to the endangered dwarf trout lily, found only at a handful of sites in three Minnesota counties.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

April’s cool, wet weather delayed the show — but early spring wildflowers are now in full bloom across southern Minnesota. Two great places to view them are Nerstrand Big Woods and Carley state parks.

Nerstrand Big Woods, near Nerstrand, Minn., is home to a wide array of spring woodland wildflowers — including the endangered dwarf trout lily.

It’s related to the common, larger white trout lily, which carpets the forest floor in the park. But the dwarf trout lily, as its name suggests, is much smaller. It’s found at a handful of sites across three southern Minnesota counties — and nowhere else in the world.

Carley State Park, near Plainview, Minn., is known for the sea of bluebells that bloom each spring in the lowlands along the North Branch of the Whitewater River.

Early season prairie wildflowers are in bloom, too, across southern Minnesota — including pasque flower and prairie smoke.

And there are countless other parks and natural areas across the state, including in the Twin Cities, where wildflowers can be seen.

If you’re not able to get out this week or weekend to see the flowers in bloom in southern Minnesota, no worries — the show will go on. Later-season woodland wildflowers like trilliums and lady’s slipper will bloom in the coming weeks, and prairie flowers will be in bloom through the summer.

And the wildflower display will creep northward across the state as the last snow melts and the weather warms in northern Minnesota.

Spring wildflowers in Minnesota
Trout lilies in bloom on Tuesday at Carley State Park near Plainview, Minn. The speckled pattern on the leaves of the trout lily inspired its name.
Andrew Krueger | MPR News

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