Look for the Canada mayflower, Maianthemum (May blossom) canadense, which is a “spring ephemeral”.

Maianthemum canadense photo courtesy of Halpaugh at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Spring Ephemerals

Spring ephemerals are native woodland plants that flower briefly during the spring. Look for their blooms in deciduous woods between March and mid-May, before the trees leaf out.

Their adaptive strategy is to grow, flower, pollinate and set seed before shade sets in. Their success is an adaptive balance between avoiding cold damage and decreased sunlight.

Pollination and seed germination rely on the activity of insects including bees and ants, which is temperature dependent.

Threats include competition from invasive plants, climate change and deer (not on Fishers Island)

More information about Spring ephemerals:

Spring Wildflowers

The State University of New York | SUNY Cortland

Now is the time to look for blooming spring ephemerals!

MassWildlife’s Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program | Division of Fisheries and Wildlife

Spring Ephemerals Are On the Clock

Tyler Arboretum

More information about Canada Mayflower:

Wildflowers of the Adirondacks: Canada Mayflower (Maianthemum canadense)

Wild Adirondacks


Photo courtesy of Ryan Hodnett via Wikimedia Commons