Trillium recurvatum (Purple Trillium)

When I first spotted this Purple or Prairie Trillium, I thought it was the more common Red Trillium or Trillium erectus. To my surprise, this was a much rarer species of Trillium found almost exclusively in Berrien County, Michigan. Likely, this is an “escape” from someone’s garden aerielly delivered by one of our feathered friends. But still it made my day! I immediately had to tell all my friends!

photo by Stewart Nelson, 2018, ©️ all rights reserved

Trilliums are not threatened or endangered but picking them will kill the plant. White Trillium is a protected plant and cannot be picked or transported in Michigan, but other species can be picked from private land with the owner’s permission according to the MyNorthCommunity blog site.

Photo by Stewart Nelson, 2018, ©️ all rights reserved

I marvel at the symmetry of this flower and the clever adaptation it has evolved to propagate. As the plant decays, ants visit the ovary and carry the seeds back to their nest to eat. The ants only eat part of the seed and the rest is disposed of by the ants in their “compost” pile, where it finds the perfect conditions to grow. Once again, nature shouts to us about how dependent we all are on each other begs us to respect our environments, rather than acting as careless custodians.

I will hope fully get some more pictures of this rare treat over the next few weeks.



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