Arboretum’s spring blossoms just a couple weeks away

March 12, 1997

ANN ARBOR—The drab of winter will soon give way to the glory of spring blossoms, sometimes fighting their way through piles of snow to show off their colors. Even though blooming times are dependent upon local weather conditions, a three-year study by the University of Michigan’s Nichols Arboretum has determined the average flowering dates for the woody plants, wildflowers and ground covers of Southeast Michigan.

Southeast Michigan is again confronting erratic temperatures and weather conditions that may influence blooming or flowering times, but it is not too soon to begin looking for the earliest signs of spring. From March 14-31, the white blossoms of Snowdrops are evident with Skunk cabbage and Myrtle following a little later and extending into April. By April Fool’s Day, Blue violets should be evident with Bloodroot, Crocus, Trout lily, Rue- anemone, Marsh marigold, Trillium and Daffodil right behind.

Early May brings Jack-in-the-pulpit, Lily-of -the-Valley, Spring beauty, Mayapple, Liverleaf and Dame’s rocket. The hot sun of July bring Daylilies and Michigan lilies.

The woody plants of Southeast Michigan are anxious to show their colors, too. By March 20, the Silver maple is usually flowering, followed closely by Fetterbush and Cornelian cherry. April brings flowers on a number of familiar favorites including the Pussy willow, Forsythia, Star magnolia, Norway and Sugar maples, various cherries, Lilac, and Serviceberry. May is a delightful time to enjoy the flowers of the Wild plum, Crabapple, Redbud, Dogwood, Japanese barberry, Burning bush, Honeysuckle, Carolina and Catawaba rhododendron, and Chinese fringe tree.

By June the Mountain laurel, Mockorange, Tree lilac, Large- leaved magnolia, Tamarisk, Tree-of-heaven and Stgaghorn sumac will be in bloom. And the hot sun of July and August will bring out the Chinese chestnut, False-spirea, Chinese aralia and Panicle hydrangea.

Guy Smith, curator of the Arboretum, says some of the best blossom areas in Nichols Arboretum can be found by following the path from the Geddes Avenue entrance to the Appalachian Glen, the Wetlands, and the Dow Prairie. If visiting the Arb during June, Smith urges a stop at the Peony Garden where the senses can be overcome with the variety of blooms ranging from white with a tinge of pink through crimson and dark maroon.

The Arboretum is open daily, sunrise to sunset. Admission is free. When visiting the Arb, remember to collect only photos and memories, that bikes are prohibited, that dogs must be leashed and that alcohol is prohibited.

To obtain a copy of the average blooming and flowering times for woody plants, wildflowers and ground covers in Southeastern Michigan, send a stamped, self-addressed #10 envelope to Gwen Christensen, Nichols Arboretum, Dana Building, U- M, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-1115.

Nichols Arboretum can also be visited via the World Wide Web at where events, history and the mission of the Arb, maps, and a photo tour of the Arb are available. At, one can find the list of approximate blooming times with both the common and Latin names of plants given.

Nichols Arboretum