Nature and Science
Pink lady slipper

Search the extensive Wildflowers of Sleeping Bear Dunes database on the web site of the Friends of Sleeping Bear Dunes

It is a pleasure to go through the seasons with the wildflowers in the park. The earliest blooms in the woodlands include carpets of spring beauty, followed by bouquets of hepatica with samples of bloodroot, and then the yellow of trout lily. One of the earliest in the pine/oak forest is the fragrant trailing arbutus, recumbent and protected from cold with thick, hairy leaves.

Large-flowered Trillium
Large-flowered trillium

Kerry Kelly 2006

Wetter sites produce the yellow cowslip or marsh marigold. In many places in the park, the forest floor is white with trillium. The green and brown flowers of the Jack-in-the-pulpit blend well with the shaded green of the beech /maple forest. Later in June the dunes are spotted in surprising colors of bright blue harebell, orange dune lily, yellow puccoon and false heather, purple beach pea, and rosy pink of wind anemone.

Milkweed flower
Milkweed flower

Kerry Kelly 2005

By midsummer the fields will have yellow St. Johnswort, purple cow vetch and milkweed, white pearly everlasting, and orange butterfly milkweed. In the fall, there will be purple asters and yellow goldenrod. By October and into November, in the oak and pine we see the flowering shrub witch Hazel. These yellow blossoms may be seen with snow on them. Lists of flowering plants can be obtained at the visitor center.

Pitcher's Thistle
Pitcher's thistle with Sleeping Bear Point in the background.

Jocelyn Trepte 2006

Some wildflowers, like this Pitcher's thistle are endangered species and found only in the dunes surrounding the Great Lakes.

Last updated: December 21, 2017

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