FutureStarr

Prairie Trillium

Prairie Trillium

Prairie Trillium

Prairie Trillium is a small biotech company that produces plant and berry vaccines. It is my hope that you will find wisdom and parallels in the following six stories.Perfect for moist clay soil, Prairie Trillium does best in light shade in a slightly damp setting. One of the earliest blooming trilliums, it features unique wine-red flowers atop beautiful large mottled leaves, and blooms at approximately the same time as Virginia Bluebells. Long-lived, this rare plant increases slowly by underground bulbs and can be divided every few years. All trilliums go dormant in summer so plant them with other woodland perennials to share and fill the space until they reappear the following spring. Trillium recurvatum is listed as endangered in Michigan.

Trillium

All trillium species belong to the Liliaceae (lily) family and are rhizomatous herbs with unbranched stems. Trillium plants produce no true leaves or stems above ground. The “stem” is actually just an extension of the horizontal rhizome and produces tiny, scalelike leaves (cataphylls). The aboveground plant is technically a flowering scape, and the leaf-like structures are actually bracts subtending the flower. Despite their morphological origins, the bracts have external and internal structure similar to that of a leaf, function in photosynthesis, and most authors refer to them as leaves.The native Prairie Trillium is a common plant that occurs in every county of Illinois (see Distribution Map). It is found primarily in rich woodlands, open woodlands, and savannas, where deciduous trees are dominant (including oak-hickory woodlands and maple-dominated woodlands). Sometimes this species survives degradation of woodland habitats, and it can be found along fence rows with woody vegetation, overgrown areas near railroads, and miscellaneous waste areas with partial or light shade.

The maroon flowers of the Prairie Trillium may attract carrion beetles and flesh flies, although little is known about the insect pollinators of this trillium (Trillium sp.) because floral visitors are rare. Only pollen is available as a floral reward. The caterpillars of two polyphagous moths, Clepsis melaleucana (Black-patched Clepsis) and Euplexia benesimilis (American Angle Shades) feed on trilliums (Covell, 1984/2005). The seeds of these plants are often distributed by ants because of their food appendages. Among mammalian herbivores, White-tailed Deer are especially known to eat the flowers and foliage of trilliums. There is also some evidence that the seeds of trilliums can pass through their digestive tracts and remain viable. Therefore, White-tailed Deer may help to distribute the seeds across long distances (Vellend et al., 2003). Where White-tailed Deer are too abundant, however, they may destroy local populations of these plants. It is possible that the mottled pattern of the foliage of the Prairie Trillium is an adaptation to deer predation as this type of pattern may help to camoflage the plant with the surrounding forest floor. (Source: www.illinoiswildflowers.info)

 

 

Related Articles