Before ascribing this year's early blooming to climate change, it is important to note that the emergence of many wildflowers seems correlated to soil temperature. This February was essentially snow-free in southern Ohio, and average temperatures were warmer. But just last year the weather was more typically wintry and the Goldenstar bloomed in its usual late March/early April timeframe. And most of my observations, which date back perhaps two decades, are from that period with occasional earlier bloomings during mild late winters. Lucy Braun, who first discovered this species in Ohio (its northernmost locale) in 1963 (but did not see it in flower until the following year) first saw it blooming on April 11. Not too far off its usual flowering time now, but still a bit later than any more modern record I'm aware of.
Fortunately, the Arc of Appalachia managed to protect a large swath of Goldenstar habitat. Their initial acquisition was in 2005, and the preserve has since grown to nearly 200 acres. All of the other plants are found on private lands, including those owned by a large paper company. CLICK HERE for information on the Gladys Riley Golden Star Lily Preserve and how to visit. It goes without saying to be respectful of the plants and their habitat if you do visit. Too, keep in mind that Goldenstars sleep in and cherish sunlight. The flowers often don’t open until mid to late morning. Sunlight accelerates their unfurling. No sense in arriving at the crack of dawn in this case.
Be forewarned, Goldenstar typically engages in a mass synchronous blooming that can be surprisingly short-lived. I once saw it in peak bloom - thousands of plants - and three days later took someone back to see the spectacle. All the flowers were already past. So time may be of the essence to catch one of Ohio's best liliaceous events.
You can also see these down by the river at the blendon ravines metro park in franklin county.
That’s a different species: Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum), which is common and widespread in Ohio.
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