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Trillium plant

Trillium plant

Trillium plant

With its large leaves and four-petal flowers, the Trillium plant is probably one of the most recognizable flowers in North America. The plant can be found in every state in North America.As it became clearer that the very large version of Liliaceae was polyphyletic, some botanists preferred to place Trillium and related genera into that separate family. Others defined a larger family, Melanthiaceae, for a similar purpose, but included several other genera not historically recognized as close relatives of Trillium. This latter approach was followed in 1998 by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group, which assigned the genus Trillium, along with its closest relatives, Paris and Pseudotrillium, to the family Melanthiaceae.Trillium (trillium, wakerobin, tri flower, birthroot, birthwort, and sometimes "wood lily") is a genus of about fifty flowering plant species in the family Melanthiaceae.

Trillium

Except for the desert regions of the southwestern United States, Trillium species are found throughout the contiguous U.S. states. In the western United States, species are found from Washington to central California, east to the Rocky Mountains. In the eastern United States, species range from Maine to northern Florida, west to the Mississippi River valley. Trillium species are especially diverse in the southeastern United States, in Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Trilliums are myrmecochorous, with ants as agents of seed dispersal. Ants are attracted to the elaiosomes on the seeds and collect them and transport them away from the parent plant. The seeds of Trillium camschatcense and T. tschonoskii, for example, are collected by the ants Aphaenogaster smythiesi and Myrmica ruginodis. Sometimes beetles interfere with the dispersal process by eating the elaiosomes off the seeds, making them less attractive to ants.

Within the United States, the bulk of Trillium diversity is found in the eastern states where Terrific Trilliums are among the favorites on many a spring wildflower walk. Their blooms can be either showy or obscure, a dazzling display of color on a hillside, or a chance surprise hidden under a leaf. With their eye-catching flowers, it is hard to imagine anyone not enjoying the sight of a trillium along a trail on a fine spring morning!All trillium species belong to the Liliaceae (lily) family and are rhizomatous herbs with unbranched stems. Morphologically, trillium plants produce no true leaves or stems above ground. The “stem” is just an extension of the horizontal rhizome and produces tiny, scale like leaves (cataphylls). The above-ground plant is technically a flowering scape, and the leaf-like structures are bracts subtending the flower. Despite their morphological origins, the bracts have external and internal structure like a leaf, function in photosynthesis, and most authors refer to them as leaves. (Source: www.fs.fed.us)

 

 

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