5 stunning flowers that bloom at the start of spring in Switzerland
Most stunning flowers blooming in Switzerland
The end of March is typically the time when the first spring flowers bloom. One common activity in Switzerland at this time of year is to venture into mountain valleys and passes on flower nature walks. There, you can see the start of the season of renewal, as the plants start to flower.
Here are some of the most beautiful flowers to see in Switzerland at the beginning of spring:
Spring Crocus (Crocus de printemps, Frühlings-Krokus)
Crocuses are one of the first plants to flower at springtime, dominating the valleys with their white-purple colouring. Their flowers typically bloom between March and June, depending on the weather, and in Switzerland can be found above the treeline in the Jungfrau region and Bernese Oberland.
Crocuses are hardy plants, being able to bloom through the snowmelt on mountains. In other countries, like Iran, dried crocuses are used to source the luxury spice Saffron - but don’t be tempted to take any here, as picking wildflowers is illegal in Switzerland.
Hepatica (Hépatique à trois lobes, Leberblümchen)
From the alpine meadows to the forests, March will also bring the first blooms of hepatica, also known as liverwort. A form of buttercup, this flower sticks out of the forest floor with its attractive and distinctly shaped purple petals.
The name of the plant comes from the Greek word for liver, named after the shape of the petals. In ancient times, the plant was used as a medicinal herb, supposed to be effective in treating liver disorders. Today, we now know that the plant can be poisonous in high doses, but can also be used as a tissue constrictor and a soother.
Primrose (Primevère commune, Stängellose Schlüsselblume)
Depending on the conditions in your area, you may have already seen primroses lining the forest floors. Their distinct white and yellow flowers add a good amount of colour to an otherwise wintery woodland.
The primrose, also known as Primula Vulgaris, is always one of the first flowers to bloom in spring in Switzerland. These plants are also edible, but you may have some competition, as they are a favourite delicacy of greenfinches. You can also make wine from the flowers.
Germander speedwell (Véronique petit-chêne, Gamander-Ehrenpreis)
Make sure you don’t miss these tiny bright blue flowers on your next hike in the mountains between spring and autumn. Germander speedwell is a very common plant in Switzerland, but their size means you may have to look a little closer to appreciate their beauty.
Germander speedwell are known as a good luck charm for travellers, as the speedwell are meant to “speed” you on your journey. They are quite common across Europe and can be found in clumps along paths, hedgerows and roads.
Rhododendrons (Rhododendron, Rhododendren)
Finally, if you are very very lucky, you may be able to see the rhododendrons bloom in early April. The stunning purple colouring is a sight to behold as it carpets the recently thawed alpine pasture.
Rhododendrons are known throughout the world, are part of many customs and take the form of national symbols. In Switzerland, rhododendrons can bloom at any time between late March and June, but when they do appear, you can't help but take notice.
When does Edelweiss bloom in Switzerland?
Edelweiss, the national flower of Switzerland, is still a way off from blooming in July. Until then, the Alps will be awash with colourful new arrivals that dominate the landscape.