The Berkshires Massachusetts
The Berkshires Massachusetts

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Wonderfully Wild

wildflower The Berkshires are blessed with an abundance of beautiful wildflowers. The fragrant blooms not only blanket the grounds of parks, sanctuaries, mountains and meadows, but also thrive along roadsides and parking lots. You'll even find them at cultural sites. The grounds at Tanglewood (297 West Street, Lenox; 413-637-1600) support more than 100 of the 1,650 species of flowering plants recorded in Berkshire County.

While most wildflowers do not appear in profusion until April, one variety of blooms burst forth as early as March: the yellow Coltsfoot. The first showy spring wildflower to assert itself, the Coltsfoot resembles a dandelion. No need to travel far to find it; this hardy herb flourishes along roadsides and stream banks and in wet meadows.

wildflower Spring has truly arrived when the bloodroot blooms, a white to cream colored flower in found in moist woods. Look for it at Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary (472 West Mountain Road, Lenox; 413-637-0320) and Bartholomew's Cobble (Weatogue Road at Ashley Falls, Sheffield; 413-229-8600). Both are also home to the state flower of Massachusetts, the trailing arbutus, a low, spreading plant with fragrant pink or red flowers.

Berkshire Botanical Garden (Routes 102 & 183, Stockbridge; 413-298-3926), is perhaps the area's most floral spot, and offers 15 acres of flora and a woodland trail. Walk the trails at Bear Swamp (Holly Road, Ashfield; 413-684-0148); Mountain Meadow Preserve (Mason Street, Williamstown; 413-458-3144); Mount Greylock (Rockwell Road, Lanesborough; 413-499-4262), and Kennedy Park (Main Street [Route 7], Lenox; 413-637-5530) for more floral vistas.