Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wayside Trillium...

I think my neighbors and the locals are getting used to the sight of my white Jeep pulled over on the side of the road. Usually the causes are benign and I can often times be found nearby taking pictures or roaming around in search of odd-shaped rocks and pebbles. They've exchanged their worried glances and inquiries of assistance for friendly waves and nods.

Yesterday, on my way back from a dash to the post office, I came across a spot on the side of the road covered with a thick patch of the three-petaled trillium flowers. This is not as common as one would think. These spring flowers have an unusual way of spreading their seeds: they use ants. Attached to the trillium's seeds are special organs that are highly attractive to the ants. Once the ants carry away and devour their meal, they discard the seeds in their waste-piles. It's here in the ant's rich garbage that the trillium seeds germinate.

Since the process of their germination and spreading is so slow and done symbiotically, and the fact that by picking a trillium flower, the entire plant is damaged (often times for years), it is illegal in some areas to pick them. So, it was particularly nice to come across this patch, covered with these unusual and beautiful flowers.

14 comments:

SummersStudio said...

Trilliums are one my favourite spring flowers. So beautiful in an understated simple way. We don't have them here. And I miss them. Thanks so much for your beautiful photos and discussion of them!

moonlitfantaseas said...

I love trillium flowers.....we have them here to in the woodsy areas like Washington park....that is a really prolific patch of them that you found how cool! I don't think I've ever seen that many in one place

Cynthia Thornton said...

wow, I didn't know that about trilliums! We came across a few on awalk through the woods not too long ago, growing alongside buttercups, if I remember right. Azalea said fairies lived there. I like your interest in plants! I'll have to make some pots for you.

Teri said...

Andrew~didn't know that about trilliums. Next time I walk in the woods I will feel more thanks to you!

Catherine said...

Hello! Thank you for your encouragement yesterday in your comment on my blog in regards to my new iMac! I will for sure check out any free training - though it will have to be on-line as I live in a small Saskatchewan city ~ no Apple store here! :(

Your art is beautiful ~ and I your new kittens are adorable! I will be back to visit again! Have a Happy Day! :)

Trishia said...

Good morning, Andrew! Merci beaucoup for stopping by my blog yesterday. Delighted to have discovered yours now! I've seen many trillium in the woods of the Olympic Peninsula in northwest Washington where I used to live. I'll certainly appreciate them more (and show off YOUR knowledge:) the next time I'm hiking with friends.

Jeannie said...

These pictures give me goosebumps. Thanks for sharing them.

Things bloom much faster today than they did 20-30 years ago.

My mom is a horticulturist and I have a deep appreciation for all things in nature including animals.

La Dolce Vita said...

hi there! thanks for stopping by and making a comment in my Dolce Shop! I really enjoyed your post about the trillium, just lovely and great shots! love your blog too and I will be back to visit! ciao!

Four Seasons in a Life said...

Greetings Andrew,

I cannot believe what my eyes are looking at. Personally I have not seen a white trillium before, but where we live there are a few purplish trilliums and very hard to find.

Three years ago I came across such a trillium and very carefully raised the bulb from the ground and successfully transplanted it to our shade portion of the garden. So far each year since it has flowered and brought much joy.

I appreciate you informing us how these plants are spread, as I was unaware the cooperation of ants.

Thank you for sharing.
Egmont

TesoriTrovati said...

Intriguing! I had no idea... I love that something so beautiful started life as 'waste'. Enjoy the day! Erin

Thea Starr said...

I live just east of Seattle and we have trilliums in our backyard (forrest) and they are illegal to pick. They are so interesting and well worth pulling over to take a picture of :)

Connie Eyberg Originals said...

Beautiful flowers! I have learned a lot about trilliums I didn't know by just reading this one post. Actually that is a flower I know nothing about...until now. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I will be back to check out the rest of your blog soon! It looks very interesting. Connie

Janet said...

What a lovely and fascinating flower and history!

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