Since not everyone, including myself is a professional botanist; when identifying wildflowers you should try to observe the following characteristics. First, count the number of petals, which is usually three to seven or more. Next, note the flower arrangement. Is it a single flower on a stem or several flowers on a stem? The most obvious flower characteristic is color. Wildflower colors usually range from shades of blue, white, yellow, pink, purple, or green. Also, record the date that the flower blooms; although flowering time can vary based on weather fluctuations. For instance, last week, James Fischer and I spotted Mountain Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium montanum) flowering at Apple Hill. When we discovered its correct identification, we learned that it typically flowers during June and into July. Finally, measure or estimate plant height and flower size. Also note the leaf margin (entire, serrated, wavy), and arrangement; meaning whether they are compound (many leaves per stem) or simple (one leaf per stem). If possible, take a photograph, but try not pick or trample the flower.
The Connecticut Botanical Society website (http://www.ct-botanical-society.org) is an excellent source to use when identifying Connecticut’s native wildflowers. Also, the Peterson Field Guide to Wildflowers is a handy book to own when out in the field. As wildflowers continue to bloom throughout the next several months, identifying them can be a fun way to get outside and learn about Connecticut’s flora.The following pictures are some of the wildflowers that I found at various locations around White Memorial’s property. I walked through wetlands (Little Pond and Cranberry Swamp), grassland (Apple Hill), old growth forests (Catlin Woods), and even stopped the truck several times along curbs to take a photo or two of a roadside wildflower.