Trillium grandiflorum or great white trillium, is the most common trillium on the slopes next to our cave. The flowers are large and brilliant white. After several days, these trilliums fade to a pale pink.
|Trillium grandiflorum covering the hillside.|
There are two less common species of trillium that I find next to our waterfall. Trillium erectum, also known as purple trillium, wet-dog trillium or purple wake-robin, has a foul odor that attracts flies and beetles for pollination. Purple trilliums are not really purple but are maroon or deep red.
|Trillium erectus or purple trillium.|
The flowers of the purple trillium are on long stalks making them droop.
An even less common trillium on our woods is Trillium cornuum, also known as nodding trillium. Its flower is also on a stalk and tends to droop.
Trilliums have a unique method of seed dispersal. Seeds are encased in a capsule that bends to the ground as the plant matures. The capsules splits open dispersing the seeds. Each seed has a structure called an elaiosome attached to it that attracts ants. Ants carry the seeds away and consume the nutrient rich elaiosome and discard the seeds.
Now use the word "elaiosome" in a sentence three times.