Friday, April 22, 2011

Sessile Trillium and a hidden Garter Snake

Sessile Trillium (Trillium sessile) is blooming all along the Little Miami River. To really appreciate its beautiful blossom, get down on your knees and have a look. The veining in the dark maroon petals are the star of the show, but its structure is just as interesting. If you look "sessile" up in Webster's dictionary, you'll find: "attached directly by the base; not raised upon a stalk or peduncle," which perfectly describes this little early spring maroon-colored trillium...

A fully opened blossom of Trillium sessile sits directly atop the leaves. It couldn't have come with a more descriptive name!

...even before a Sessile Trillium bloom opens, the maroon veining in the three outer sepals is striking.

Surprise...an Eastern Garter Snake! When you're sprawled on the ground in the early spring communing with the flowers, don't forget other things like to sprawl (or coil) on the ground too. Thank goodness I LOVE snakes, otherwise, I would have been in for quite a fright. This fellow was coiled up about 4 feet from me. He blended in to the leaves so well I didn't see him until I was almost on top of him. It was cold...and he didn't even bother to move...

The first thing I do when I spot a snake is look at its eye. If the pupil is round, like the pupil on this Eastern Garter Snake, it is non-venomous and safe. If the pupil is elliptical, back away. It is venomous and can do some damage!

...the outer sepals will soon give way to the blossom within.

Sessile Trillium is also called Toadshade Trillium. I can totally imagine a toad finding shelter under the broad leaves...

..sets of three. The geometry of a trillium is part of its mystique.

...bright yellow pollen glows against the maroon petals.

...the sun backlights a petal of Trillium sessile, emphasizing the veining through the translucent petal.


22 comments:

Lois Evensen said...

What a pretty little flower. And, I welcome the garter snakes, too. They are often found lounging on top of plants or shrubs sunning after a rain. They do a good job of eating those nasty slugs in my garden. :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Gorgeous photos, Kelly... I love Trillium --and there's alot of it in the Smokies. You captured it so well.... WOW!!!!

I hope that I NEVER get close enough to a snake to even see the eye.... ha ha

Happy Easter.
Hugs,
Betsy

Janice K said...

They are so pretty. This spring has been so wet and cold, I haven't even gone out in our woods to see what is sprouting under the leaves. I'm not sure I'd stick around long enough to check if the snake's eyes were round or not. But it is a bit of advise I will certainly remember.

Have a lovely Easter, Kelly.

forgetmenot said...

Beautiful shots of the Trillium-such a beautiful flower. Yes, that would give me quite a fright too to be that close to a snake-poisonous or nonpoisonous! Have a lovely Easter weekend. Mickie :)

Susan said...

Peduncle? Love it! And Eliptical eye? Never knew that..plus the fact that your photography is stunning...you're beginning to make me think you're a prodigy! Sheesh..what do you do when you're doing nothing? ;>)

Montanagirl said...

Just beautiful shots, Kelly! The Trillium is so pretty, and that snake - well, what can I say? I'da been out of there! LOL

rebeccainthewoods said...

I have a photo from last spring of a freak-of-nature trillium with FOUR of everything...

grammie g said...

HI Kelly...strikingly beautiful photos of the Trillium...they are a wonderful spring wild flower,you capture wonderful ways of viewing parts of it !!
Now if I had had seen that snake the whole country side would have know it.."I don't like snakes"
Have a great Easter weekend!!

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Such beautiful images of the Sessile Trillium! ... and good advise when spotting a snake. I didn't know that about the eyes, so very interesting.

shirl said...

Hello Kelly... Trillium in the post title brought me here :-)

What stunning images of a plant that I have enjoyed seeing recently on a garden visit in Scotland. A wonderful plant... thanks for sharing yours :-D

Chris said...

Fantastic set but I would not have been able to take this snake picture ;-) You got this hiding garter snake very well!

Marie said...

Beautiful!! You are really making me yearn for a macro lens. When I switched gear several years ago and got a Canon I couldn't afford one and I really miss shooting close ups. And thanks for the advice about snakes--I had no idea about the pupils, although I think if I'm close enough so see that detail, I am probably too close!

Out on the prairie said...

I found this bloom yesterday while in the woods, it was too cold for snakes.

Andrea said...

What amazing pictures of the trillium. I never knew that about the snakes eyes, Thanks!

Carol Mattingly said...

Absolutely gorgeous Kelly. Happy Easter to you and your family. Have an Easter egg kind of day. Carol

Garden Lily said...

Kelly, the trillium and your photos of it are gorgeous. I've never heard that tip before about looking a snake in the eye. Most people wouldn't get close enough for that, but I'm glad you did, and made a wonderful photo, too.

Michael Bartneck said...

Glad I found your Blog neighbor!WOW! I really, really need a better camera. Awesome shots and a great blog.

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone for such nice comments!! These plants are so beautiful. I really enjoy photographing them. We've had another day of heavy rain (it's only noon, but more is in store...). I wanted to get over to the Little Miami for a short hike to look in on the trillium and some new Jack-in-the-Pulpit I saw last week, but I'm worried the river has eased further up the hillside and might be covering it.

Michael Bartneck said...

Check out winton woods trails if you get a chance, especially the woods trails like the one opposite side of the creek,opposite Kingfisher trail,White Trilliums are busting out now!!!

Michael Bartneck said...

from winton...http://trekkingohio.blogspot.com/2011/04/look-out-below-revenge-of-valley-of.html

Kelly said...

...thanks, Michael! I'm about 30 mins away from Winton Woods, but I'll try to head out. I followed that trail this winter to see Red-breasted Nuthatches. I just returned from the Little Miami and found white trilliums and Jack-in-the-pulpit!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Your wildflowers are a bit ahead of ours. We have spring beauty blooming, and if my trout lillies ever bloomed, it would be now. (I can't figure out why they don't bloom.) Trilliums aren't out yet, though. These are just stunning. I love that deep red!