Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trillium grandiflorum at Fort Ancient (Ohio's state wildflower)

This evening after dinner, Rick and I headed up to Fort Ancient to see if the Trillium grandiflorum plants I spotted in bud earlier this month along the steep hillside trail that leads down to the Little Miami River were still blooming. If you're familiar with the area, you know the Fort Ancient hill trail is fun--not only is it steep (it takes between 11 and 15 minutes to reach the top at a nice clip for a great workout), but more importantly, Trillium flexipes, Trillium sessile and Trillium grandiflorum flow down along the path in huge sweeps. Our goal was to find Trillium grandiflorum (Large-flowered Trillium) because the plant is missing from the Little Miami River near the powder factory where I hang out. We hoped the blooms were still fresh, and we weren't too late for the show...

...looks like we arrived for the last act because the blooms were already starting to turn pink,
an indication of advanced age and pollination.

...ruffly petals and yellow anthers (the part of the stamen that holds the pollen) help identify Trillium grandiflorum.

The grandiflorum blossom tops a long stem (peduncle), making it similar to Trillium flexipes,
but very different from Trillium sessile.

...the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has a nice description of Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) on their site and explains why you should never pick a trillium--the flower soon wilts, and without the leaves to feed the roots, the plant dies. They also explain why seed growth is not a quick fix--ants carry the seeds to their nests where they eat the outside coating (strophiole) and then discard the seeds unscathed, but even though the seeds will sprout the following spring, it will take at least 6 years before the plants will flower!

...even though the blossom is nearing its end, it's still beautiful...

I saw this Trillium grandiflorum blossom on April 3 along the Fort Ancient hillside trail.
I was just a little too early for the show then...

This is what a bright white Large-flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), Ohio's officail state wildflower, looks like soon after opening! (Unfortunately, I couldn't find any fresh flowers today on the Fort Ancient trail. I photographed this plant on May 1, 2010 at the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve in Urbana, Ohio.)

For more information and beautiful photos of this gorgeous flower, head over to Riverdaze. Grizz just posted on Trillium grandiflorum too!

7 comments:

Janice K said...

I knew there was some reason why they shouldn't be picked, but never know why. Thanks for the information.

forgetmenot said...

Beautiful shots--I like the one where the tiny blossom is drooping over the leaves. I wish I did have a yard filled with tulips, but Wichita Botanical Gardens gets credit for those. I do have lots of peonies, irises, and roses that will be blooming soon in my yard. Have a nice weekend. Mickie :)

Out on the prairie said...

I think the time it takes them to bloom adds to their mystique and beauty.A woodland favorite.

grammie g said...

Hi Kelly... Magnificent plant and photos!!
Well worth a climb to see!!
Thanks for sharing...I didn't have to leave my chair. lol

grammie g said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

...thanks, guys!! :-) I love seeing all these woodland wildflowers. Their bloom time is so short, but that's what makes them special! It's fun to watch one flower meld into the next bloom...the constant replacement is interesting.

Kerri said...

My favorite wildflower! Great captures!