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September Wildflowers in Ohio.

September 29, 2012

September is the season where wildflowers get more colorful right before the trees get brighter colors of their own- the year is moving rapidly (too rapidly, some say) towards its conclusion.  I’ll start off with this month’s prominent blooms, as usual:


This is the clear winner in the sheer numbers category!


Asters got off to a slower start than Goldenrod, but they’re blooming in large numbers now.


This plant is numerous along wood borders and treelines, it seems to like some shade.  It showed up in smaller numbers in August, but there’s a lot of it blooming now, and some are already turning brown.


Very common in weedy places.  It’s one of those plants that I never catch blooming and seems to go right to fuzzy seeds!

Queen Anne’s Lace

Along with Chicory, this abundant summer plant is still around, though browning and forming ‘birds nests’ more and more.


Greater Ragweed

Lesser Ragweed

The Ragweeds are quite common, as hay fever sufferers know.  Goldenrod gets the rap for pollen allergies, but Ragweeds are the usual culprits.

Lady’s Thumb

Colonies of this interesting plant like the shade of wood edges.


Generic Sunflowers are still around too.  It’s often a headache to tell the specific species apart because they hybridize as well as look very similar to begin with.

Hairy Sunflower

Its cheerfully bright yellow bloom can still be found in prairies and fields.

Three-Lobed Coneflower

The latest reliably blooming Coneflower species in the area.  Gray-Headed, Green-Headed and Purple Coneflowers are mostly browning by this month.

Tickseed Sunflower

The latest blooming sunflower that I typically see.

Evening Primrose

High on the list of my favorite autumn wildflowers.


Often browning by now, there’s still a good amount of richly-colored blooms left.

Curly Dock

Birds like this plant’s seeds.

Common Teasel

A lot of this is brown by now, but I still see the occasional bloom.

Great Lobelia

A handsome plant occasionally seen along greenways or wood edges.


Thoroughwort is an interesting autumn plant.  I usually see it in dry fields.  It may be confused with Boneset, but its leaves are narrow and not joined at the stem like Boneset, which likes moist soil anyways.


Still seen in wet areas.


Common last month, it’s mostly lost its blooms by the end of this month.

Birds-Foot Trefoil

Less common than it was last summer, but still handsome.

Obedient Plant

This striking plant doesn’t mind early autumn.

Biennial Guara

This different wildflower is almost done blooming now.

Water Horehound

This uncommon plant is fading, too.  I’ve seen more of it seeding than blooming.

Cat tail

The last of the blooming wetlands plants, it is starting to seed and grow fuzzy.

Wood Nettle

This woodland plant is starting to fade.  It had a rough year in drought conditions.


Another fading woodland plant.  Note its hook-like blooms.

And there are still some of those familiar lawn-friendly plants around, in lesser numbers:

Red Clover

White Clover


Common Plantain

English Plantain

Wood Sorrel

And to wrap things up, here’s a browning plant.  Brown blooms are increasingly becoming more common in early autumn.

This Self-Heal is done blooming and is seeding now.  My favorite late summer plant- Ironweed- shares the same fate.  Fields and roadsides will show increasing amounts of this drab color in the coming months, as the warm weather becomes a sunny memory.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2012 7:59 pm

    Tracy, great photos! I saw many of the same plants on my walk this morning 🙂

    • September 29, 2012 11:43 pm

      That’s great, composer! It’s a perfect time of year for colorful wildflower fans 🙂

  2. September 29, 2012 8:39 pm

    The Biennial Guara and sneezeweed don’t grow here so I haven’t seen them.I haven’t found great lobelia, but I’ve seen most of the others. Nice shots!

    • September 29, 2012 11:46 pm

      Thanks, NH Gardener! Great Lobelia grows here in uncommon patches so it’s by no means an easy thing to plan to see. The purple catches your eye when you do walk by it though.

  3. keekeepod permalink
    September 29, 2012 11:19 pm

    I’m not sure one can catch horseweed blooming. Last year the wild part of my yard was overtaken by them but I didn’t see obvious flowers. Only little green pellets that didn’t interest pollinators.

    Lady’s Thumb looks like the “weed” in my yard much favored by Japanese Beetles, except flowers in your picture are about 2 months later.

    • September 29, 2012 11:49 pm

      You know, I wondered about that- I’ve never seen it blooming. I wonder if there’s a term for that…it looks like it has buds, but the buds get fuzzy, skipping the flower part.

      I always called Lady’s Thumb ‘knotweed’ for many years, that may be a local name for it. Robert Henn’s Wildflowers of Ohio says it’s Lady’s Thumb and I take his word for it. I’ll have to keep an eye out for Japanese Beetles around it!

  4. September 30, 2012 8:59 pm

    You find so many pretty flowers. It’s sad to think they’ll be gone before long. Cattails are crazy, aren’t they? I always love to see them.

    • October 1, 2012 5:16 pm

      The Cattails are interesting, Patti. I’ll miss all the flowers too in a couple of months!

  5. September 30, 2012 10:24 pm

    You know I always think of chicory as a summer flower, but I’ve been noticing it a lot in Wisconsin lately as well. Thanks for reminding me how much I like autumn!

    • October 1, 2012 5:18 pm

      Sure, Inger! Here in Ohio, Chicory can linger through the autumn in greatly reduced numbers.

  6. October 1, 2012 1:37 am

    Interesting to see what is blooming there. Much more than we have here now. It’s the flowers last chorus for this year’s cycle and a pretty one!

  7. October 2, 2012 2:06 am

    Beautifully photographed – a lovely ‘tour’ of your autumn wild flowers. Some of them look familiar, others less so! I love the cat tails and the ‘obedient plant’ – an Interesting name!

    • October 2, 2012 8:51 am

      Thanks, Jo- apparently the name comes from being able to position the blooms however you like and they will stay that way. Obedient Plants are grown in gardens as well.

  8. October 4, 2012 9:16 am

    It seems like there a lot more flowers blooming this time of year than I thought. Wonderful pictures. I do love Queen Anne’s Lace!

    • October 5, 2012 9:43 am

      The Queen Anne’s Lace is still hanging in there Barbara, just not as much of it looking as pretty as it has all summer!

  9. October 7, 2012 12:37 pm

    Lovely post. Great pictures – enjoyed your bird captures particularly. It is so nice to see such flower diversity posted this time of year. So many people think that is is barren out there but its not! Just have to know where and how to look 🙂

  10. Carrie e permalink
    July 14, 2015 9:43 pm

    Just missing ironweed that blooms in se Ohio in August & September

    • July 14, 2015 10:01 pm

      Thanks Carrie- I had Ironweed in July & August, I think it is declining in central Ohio by September…I’ll look for it this year to see!

  11. Rick Marra permalink
    September 17, 2017 5:47 pm

    I have a 4 foot plant in my garden – blooms 1/2 inch wide, 5 petals, yellow, with a core like a daisy. Interesting stem – rectangular with purple stripes. Maybe a buttercup of some sort ?

    • September 19, 2017 9:15 am

      Interesting, Rick- sounds like a Butterweed but that’s a spring plant. Some kind of Sowthistle perhaps?

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