My wife and I were walking along the James River this morning when we came across this beautiful little flower, which appears at roughly life size in the photo to the left. We have no idea what it is. Does anyone recognize it?

The flower most often appeared in clumps, like that seen at right. It clearly prospers in the shade.

I don’t recall ever seeing this blossom before. The plant of which it is part is pleasant enough in appearance and would be an asset to any garden, even when not in bloom. If the plant is native to Virginia (I am partial to indigenous species), I would love to have it in my garden.

Update: That didn’t take long. LarryG identified the flowers as bluebells, a common flower. I guess I don’t get out enough.

Update: Turns out that there is an annual Bluebell Festival in Merrimac Farm in Prince William County! That’s coming up in one week.

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14 responses to “Name this Flower!”

  1. Thanks, Larry. I’ll say this, the flowers we saw do look like the bluebells you picture here, and the leaves look the same, too. So, you’re probably right. But the flowers we saw had these red things attached.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    different variations .. though it could be something else…

    if you put the picture in Google Image Search..

  3. I get it — the red goobers are the buds of new bluebells.



    Virginia bluebell Sorry just got home and got this.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    When the bluebells come out.. you KNOW it’s SPRING!

    they’re in profusion along many rivers and creeks!!

  6. Copy this code into the Google Maps search box to find a large spread of Virginia Bluebells in their native habitat, between the road and Passage Creek, just coming into bloom: 87C3VF24+R2

    1. LarrytheG Avatar

      well.. did not see the bluebells .. maybe need to look closer but the street view is very familiar… shuttle… 😉

      how did you get the “code” .. you’re a clever guy!

      1. You can’t see them in Street View. But alongside Narrow Passage Creek here, there’s a boggy, partially wooded bottom that is a mass of bluebells in season; we discovered this years ago in our annual family trek to a late-April church event at Orkney Springs. Bluebells benefit from thinning and weeding, so we help nature out a little as we drive by each year on the way home. Many more bluebellls a few miles SW, along Swover Creek near the old mill below Wakemans Grove Rd, but some privacy issues in that stretch.

        Drop a pin anywhere in Google Maps and a box opens on the left giving a description of what’s there; click on the pin a second time and the box changes to show map info like the lat/long coordinates and what Google calls its “plus code” which performs the same function. Enter either into the Maps search bar and it takes you there.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar

          I can touch the map and get a small box with the lat/long but even if I click on the pin – I do not see the “plus code” anywhere.. if I click share I get the URL but no stand-alone “code” that can be clicked..

          1. Don’t know. My instructions work for an Android phone or tablet, you never know about those Apple products or desktops. Anyway, you can copy and email the lat/long to folks, and that works just as well as the “plus code” in the search bar.

  7. As the president of the Virginia Native Plant Society (, I am pleased that you’re publicizing to the policy crowd the beauty of one of our spectacular spring ephemerals, Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). You can return to that spot in about a month and there will no trace of them. They often bloom near profusions of spring beauty (Claytonia virginica) that can carpet the ground like snow. Yellow trout lilies, Dutchman’s breeches, cutleaf toothwort, and paw paws also bloom with bluebells in the same habitat. Come to the Annual Bluebell Festival on Sunday, April 8. It’s held at Merrimac Farm Wildlife Management Area in Nokesville next to Marine Corps Base Quantico, see for details. A beautiful world awaits in our natural areas and we need to protect them for generations to come.

  8. CleanAir&Water Avatar

    Doug Coleman of the Wintergreen Nature Foundation and native plant enthusiast says Virginia bluebell. Gotta use the Virginia label too cause they sure don’t look like the bluebells i know from PA

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