Spring Wildflowers of the Slovak Small Carpathians

Snowdrops in Slovakia, Almost Bananas blog

Spring is my favourite season in the area of Slovakia I live in, in the west. After a grey winter, nothing sparks hope like new growth and warming temperatures. In the Malé Karpaty, spring comes on in full force. Of course, spring can lie too – this year, after a few weeks of warmth, winter returned for another few weeks.  

These photos were taken within a space of about two weeks, at the end of March/beginning of April. I know, it’s May now. It takes me a while.

First flowering spring bushes in the Slovak Karpaty, Almost Bananas blog

First leaves with rain drops, Almost Bananas blog

March showers start off the March flowers. And leaves. I don’t actually know what the first flowering bush is – anybody?

Spring flowers in Slovakia, Almost Bananas blog

The first flower out is the delicate snowdrop, snežienka in Slovak. Once endangered, snowdrops are often picked for International Woman’s Day. Sometimes, you can find them carpeting the ground.

Snowdrop carpet in the Slovak Karpaty, Almost Bananas blog

Spring forest in Slovakia

After the snowdrop comes the chocholačka dutá, fumewort or bird-in-a-bush. Some kind of Corydalis although I couldn’t tell you which. I can’t find out anything about it other than the name, but it grows like crazy here, carpeting the forest floor. The flowers have a strong sweet smell. The flowers are usually purple, but can also be white.

chocholacka duta kvety

Trail in Slovakia

New spring forest in Slovakia

It’s hard to see below, but another flower is the lungwort flower, Pulmonaria. It has blue and pink flowers together on one plant, fuzzy almost prickly leaves with whitish dots. As the name suggests, this plant has been used to treat respiratory illnesses. As a child, lungwort grew in my grandmother’s garden; I never imagined that it grew somewhere wild or that it had medicinal properties.  

Lungwort flower in Slovakia

Foraging bounty

Foraging bounty – lungwort, ramsons, violets, and wild onion (more like chives).

Speaking of ramsons…wild bear garlic carpets the forest floor in the spring in Slovakia. A relative of ramps in North America, these tasty plants are like garlic in a leaf. I just ate the last of my fermented ramsons buds (sooo good, especially with buckwheat) and love it in pesto (recipe). Here are more photos of ramson carpets and recipes.

And the birds. The birds come back and their song fills the forest.

Ramsons in forest

Carpet of ramsons in forest

On the hill behind my town is a feral cherry orchard. Cherry trees aren’t wild here, but they’ve gone feral, nobody takes care of them, so that counts, right? In spring the hill is covered with white blooms that are breathtaking. I took pictures last year too.

Blossoming cherry orchard

I came here at sunrise, hoping to get the early morning rays through the blossoms. The problem is that the sky is so hazy early in the morning that the sun is rather high before any direct light comes through. I had the same problem last year. I stayed until seven, when the ringing church bells sent me running home to make breakfast for kids before school. Just one more picture…

Rising sun through cherry blossoms

Rising sun over cherry orchard and church

view over spring fields

Notice the line of white bushes in the fields above.


Thick cherry blossoms

blossoming cherry tree

beautiful cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms surrounding church steeple

Workers coming to work in a feral cherry orchard

A trail is being laid from flagstones up the hill, which leads to a village (mostly underground) from the Iron Age. Say what??? Some digging has begun again after 20 some years but it’s kind of ho-hum here. Iron Age village, no biggie. What the what – that is crazy amazing in my books!

The manual workers are largely Roma, and I was surprised how tentative they were. It was like they were expecting me to look down my nose at them. When one gave me a little smile, and I smiled back, his face suddenly relaxed and he gave a big smile. Perhaps it was just the early morning though – going for a run near the construction site in spandex isn’t quite as innocent.

Mirabelle plum blossom tunnel

Do you remember that line of white bushes in the field? That’s ringloty bushes, although I missed the peak in the photo. All around the area are wild (feral?) Mirabelle plum bushes, yellow and red varieties. Mirabelle plums are a small juicy plum, with a rather large pit and thick skin. They mostly drop to the ground around here, a travesty for someone who comes from a cold climate where the few fruit trees that survive produce pretty tart fruit.

Falling Mirabelle plum blossoms

Snowing plum blossoms.

Another white flowering bush is the blackthorn or sloe, Latin Prunus spinosa. With large thorns, the fruit is called trnka in Slovak because of its trpka or acrid taste. Much like choke cherries, eating a fresh astringent sloe will dry out your mouth. After the first frost, the small blue fruit become sweet. In the spring, they can grow in dense hedges with a profusion of white blossoms. 

blackthorn blossoms

flowering lsloe bushes across field

Flowering blackthorn in forest

Up the hill from our place, by the Iron Age settlement, what I think are blackthorn bushes line the top of the cliffs.

Flowering bushes up Molpir, Slovakia

I basically walk around in the spring exclaiming over nature.

wood sorrelWood sorrel



Lesser CelendineLesser Celendine, which also grows in carpets. Considered a noxious weed in the US.

White flowersWood anemone

yellow anemoneYellow anemone

Spring VetchlingSpring vetchling

cinquefoilHairy cinquefoil, I think.

unknown yellow flowerSome kind of spurge, perhaps cypress spurge

Yellow rock flowerCan’t find a name for this one. Anyone? Thanks to a reader, this has been identified as Aurinia saxatilis, tarica skalná in Slovak.

purple wood spurge?Purple wood spurge?

wild onionWild onion, basically wild chives

wild thymeWild thyme, which always makes me think of the Scottish song my family sang, “And we’ll all go together, to pick wild mountain thyme, all along the blooming heather, will you go lassie, go?” The leaves have a strong heady fragrance, and is particularly healing for coughs.

The following are photos I couldn’t not include, but as this post is getting rather long, I’ll stop with the commentary.

Which flower or photo is your favourite?snowdrops

spring flowers

foggy hills

snowdrop flower


snowdrops and fumewort

light in a forest

Losonec, Slovakia

Lošonec, Slovakia

Losonec, Slovakia, tucked into the hills

cherry blossoms upclose

Cherry blossoms

cherry blossoms in the sunrise

sunrise in a cherry orchard

cherry tree and church steeple

cherry blossom and church steeple

Forest path in spring

Flowers in forest, Slovakia

forest path in spring

east side, west sideNorth-east facing, south-west facing

greening forest

path in the woods