Bloom and Fall Color Reports

Spring Bloom Report: March 1 – March 7, 2024

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March 1, 2024

This is the earliest Bloom Report since Ed Hedborn, The Morton Arboretum’s plant records manager, began keeping records of spring flowering in 1998.

With near-record warmth in February, spring flowers are starting their annual display very early this year. Hellebores (Christmas-roses and Lenten-roses) are beginning to bloom in the Ground Cover Garden and in front of the Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1). Patches of lavender-purple snow crocus are in full bloom on the hill by the Maple Collection (Parking Lot 14).

Near the Fragrance Garden outside the Thornhill Education Center (Parking Lot 21), white snowdrops and yellow winter aconite (pictured above) are in bloom, and more snowdrops can be seen along the West Side Alternate Route above Lake Marmo (Parking Lot 27). At the west end of Lake Marmo, south of the dam, skunk-cabbage is in bloom, with its huge dark red flowers and highly distinctive aroma.

Spring blooming witch-hazels are putting on a great show in Witch-Hazel Dell (Parking Lot 27) and in the Ground Cover Garden and Arbor Court by the Visitor Center (Parking Lot 1). Overhead there are more subtle tree flowers: elms and silver maples are in full bloom while flower buds are swelling on red maples.

Willow catkins are starting to peek out of buds in the Midwest Collection (Parking Lot 3), the China Collection (Parking Lot 17), and the Europe Collection (Parking Lot 19). In many areas of the Arboretum, buds that will open into yellow flowers are swelling on Cornelian-cherry dogwood trees and shrubs, and catkins are developing on hazelnuts.

How the bloom season progresses will depend on the weather, which can change any minute. So seize the moment to enjoy signs of early spring at The Morton Arboretum!

Featured Blooms


Lenten-rose has thick stems with small clusters of white or light pink flowers blushed with purple.

Ground Cover Garden, Parking Lot 1

Vernal Witch-Hazel

Vernal witch-hazel has yellow and orange-red flowers with a spicy fragrance that appear before the leaves unfurl.

Arbor Court, Parking Lot 1; Witch-Hazel Dell, Parking Lot 27


Skunk-cabbage is a native plant that grows in moist habitats with large, dark purple leaves mottled with yellow and green.

Lake Marmo, Parking Lot 28



About the Bloom Report

The Bloom Report is written by the Arboretum’s Manager of Plant Records, Ed Hedborn. It is typically published on Fridays through spring to give members and guests a chance to plan their weekend visits. The Arboretum also publishes a weekly Color Report in the fall.


Spring at The Morton Arboretum

The Morton Arboretum is more than a walk in the woods. Explore upcoming learning opportunities and events to learn more about trees and plants and to celebrate your love of nature.

Celebrate the contributions that women have made to the natural world through conservation work, science, advocacy, and education during the Women and the Environment Speaker Series, Thursdays in March. Inspire a love of nature and engage young readers at the Tales From the Great Outdoors: A Children’s Books Family Event at the Arboretum’s Sterling Morton Library on Saturday, March 16.


Become a Member

When a trip to the Arboretum inspires you to explore more, become a member to visit again and again.

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