Posted by: gatheringwater | 2009/05/01

Roadside Attraction No. 2


Trillium have joined the swamp cabbages alongside the country lanes. I believe this one is Trillium ovatum. I love their rippled and delicately veined petals. The white flowers stand out against the green bracts and flash like stars as I zip down the roads from one appointment to the next.

Some people call trillium “wake robins” because they are a harbinger of Spring but, to be honest, the robins long preceded the blooming of the trillium, at least this year.

I recently learned that these flowers have a special relationship with ants. Their seeds have an oily bit the ants like to eat. After they consume the part they want, they toss the rest of the seed into the ant rubbish heap, where the seed can later germinate.

Trillium are best enjoyed where they grow. If you cut the flower and bract, you are taking away the plant’s ability to store energy and it probably won’t bloom the next year.


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