Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Native Plant Profile

I had to make an emergency babysitting trip north to help my son and his partner. The woods along the way were full of Ontario's beautiful floral emblem, Trillium grandiflorum.


Their single white flowers are simple with three triangular to oval petals, and their leaves are a whorl of three green sepals at the top of the stem with the flower perched on top. 
The white flowers turn pink with age. 


As the fruit matures, they will bend close to the ground and split open, exposing clumps of sticky seeds.  Each seed has a large bump, called an elaiosome, that ants find irresistible.  The ants carry the seeds back to they nests, where the elaiosome is eaten and the seed discarded well away from the parent plant.
It can take up to two years for the seeds to germinate and at least six to seven years before they will flower.  Some Native peoples used the trillium roots and rootstocks as medicine, and the young leaves are said to make excellent salad and cooked greens. But once the leaves are picked the plant dies, it would be a shame to kill such a beautiful plant. 


They are native in Quebec, Ontario and the eastern United States. Trilliums prefer partial shade, rich, well drained soil that is neutral to slightly acid and full of organic matter. They are often wild dug, so make sure your source guarantees plants are nursery propagated.
A wonderful addition to the woodland garden.



17 comments:

Becca said...

Oo I love this white flower...I like the 3 pedals...so different. Maybe I will try to paint flowers with 3 pedals.

Lavender Cottage said...

Hi Jen
You were lying on the ground again for these photos I'm sure and it paid off, beautiful representation of our provincial flower.
Judith

Country Wings in Phoenix said...

Oh Sweetie...
I pray your son is okay, as I know when we have to go and babysit, something has happened. Hopefully it wasn't anything serious and you were at least able to enjoy a little of the beauty along the way.

Thank you for sharing the gorgeous flowers. I have never seen anything quite like this. They are just exquisite. How odd that they start out white petaled and end up pink petaled with age. I wonder how old the plant has to be to produce this color?

Thank you taking me along on this nature hike. I so enjoyed myself sweet one. Many hugs to you and prayers for the son. Love, Sherry

paula, the quilter said...

Lovely flower. I've never seen one outside of a photo.

(Queenmothermamaw) Peggy said...

Seeing those along the highway would, indeed make for a nice trip. You did a great job photographing and describing them. Very pleasing to the eyes and the soul. Blessings
QMM

julieQ said...

What amazingly lovely flowers! Quite a life cycle too...a long time be fore the seed from one plant can make another! Hope your adventures in baby-sitting was fun.

Alison said...

You got some wonderful photos of Trilliums, one of my favorite native wildflowers. Hope everything worked out ok for your son.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Gorgeous pictures.I fail to see why people feel the need to pick wild flowers and so destroy them.

Sheila said...

Trilliums were found in the forests on Vancouver Island as well - your photos are gorgeous!

Laura~DancesWithTeddyBears said...

You captured the trillium beautifully, Jen. I love those wildflowers. Our forests are dotted with them as well.

Betty Jo said...

I'll be moving to NC and trillium is prolific in that state. I adore them, especially the white ones, and your photos are awesome. Hope to be back blogging on a regular basis once I'm settled again.

Pondside said...

We have two trilliums in our NW garden. I don't know how they got here, and they are hidden under some ferns, but I look for them every year and am always relieved to see that they have come back.

Lona said...

Hi Jen. I love seeing their white blooms in the woods each spring.They are just so lovely brightening up a shady woodland floor.

Mary said...

Oh, they are gorgeous! I do see a few around here, along with mayapples and jacks-in-the-pulpit... :)

Georgianna said...

Hi Jen, Thank you for lying on the ground to get these wonderful photos! I didn't realize that Trillium were Ontario's floral emblem. I've come to appreciate them more and more for their beauty and long lasting blooms. I'm inspired to plant more in the woodland garden. :) – g

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Jen;
What a lovely wildflower. And, your pics are wonderful, as always. I hope all is well with the family and I'm proud of you for taking time to snap the wildflowers en route. (I'm forver asking drivers to stop the car, on road trips, for the same reason and quite often they just roll their eyes and keep going. :-)

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I adore trillium, and your photos are really lovely. Thanks for sharing them!