Discover Saskatoon

A Guide to Spring Wildflowers in Saskatoon

Outdoors & Adventure
Posted By Tara Dupuis , April 09, 2024

As winter transitions to spring in the Canadian prairies, landscapes in and around the city transform with bursts of colourful plant life. We check in with experts at Wanuskewin and Meewasin Valley Authority for where to sight spring wildflowers in Saskatoon. To take full advantage of this time of year, check out our spring seasonal activity guide for more ways to explore our city.  

Spring Wildflowers in Saskatoon: Prairie Crocus

One of the early flowers of the season is the Prairie Crocus, often sighted in open grasslands and forest meadows adding a touch of colour to the transitioning landscape.  

Ian Hnatowich, Resource Management Coordinator at Wanuskewin, shares that “this species is one of the very first spring flowers to emerge, oftentimes before all the snow has melted! The flowers themselves develop before the leaves, and so it is not uncommon to come across a field of colorful flowers (often blue-purple, but may be very pale, almost appearing as perfectly white) seemingly popping out of nowhere!” He furthers that Prairie Crocus tend to show up in areas previously disturbed by fire or grazing and recommends visitors visit Wanuskesin’s location of previous prescribed fires like the Harmony Trail and the Han-Wi Lookout. 

Photo Credit: Wanuskewin Heritage Park Authority

If you want to spot these early blooms in the city Renny Grilz, Resource Management Officer at Meewasin Valley Authority, shares that “these resilient flowers can be spotted in early April in open fields and meadows, adding a pop of color to the awakening prairie landscape. In the city, you can look for these flowers at the aptly named Crocus Prairie.” Access and parking for Meewasin’s Crocus Prairie is off Central Avenue north of the Regional Psychiatric Centre. 

Spring Wildflowers in Saskatoon: Threeleaf Milkvetch

In late April, search for the small white flowering Threeleaf Milkvetch. Found in dry grassland environments, look for this plant on eroded hilltops or other areas where there is low competition from other species. An integral part of the prairie ecosystem, importantly “this species can gather atmospheric nitrogen, and supply excesses of critical nutrients to the soil immediately around it which improves the conditions of nearby soils, increasing the likelihood of new and different species finding a suitable location to grow” notes Ian Hnatowich, Resource Management Coordinator at Wanuskewin. Look for this plant at the Han-Wi lookout at Wanuskewin, but be careful of the edge!

Photo credit: Ian Hnatowich 

Spring Wildflowers in Saskatoon: Three-flowered Avens

If good things come in threes, keep your eyes peeled for Three-flowered Avens. Renny Grilz, Resource Management Officer at Meewasin Valley Authority, notes that “delicate and unique, Three-flowered Avens are a member of the rose family. These graceful nodding flowers bloom from May to July and feature reddish-purple petals, usually in threes. Also known as Prairie Smoke, they resemble a puff of smoke when they go to seed.” Common in and around Saskatoon, Grilz suggests looking for them at the Cranberry Flats Conservation Area and Beaver Creek Conservation Area.

Insider Tip: Meewasin offers a variety of fun ways to see the Valley and learn more through guided tours and volunteer experiences. 

Photo credit: Meewasin Valley Authority  

Spring Wildflowers in Saskatoon: Saskatoon Berry

Later in spring, take a riverside stroll to spot Saskatoon Berry blooms. Renny Grilz, Resource Management Officer at Meewasin Valley Authority, notes that “the shrubs that produce our namesake berry can be found throughout the Meewasin Valley and flower in late May. Look for shrubs with soft green oval leaves and clusters of delicate white flowers, which turn into tasty berries in the summer.”  

Insider Tip: Read more about our favorite berries in our All About Saskatoon Berries post. 

Photo Credit: Discover Saskatoon, Aspen Films Inc.

Grow your own Spring Wildflowers in Saskatoon

Spring blooms are an important early source of food for pollinators, so if you want to lend a hand you can grow your own native plants! Head to the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market in May and June and pick up hand-harvested native spring wildflower seeds from Blazing Star Wildflower Seed Company. If you want to grow native plants in your yard, local group Pollinator Paradise YXE provides resources and tips to get started.