Mid May 2016

This past week saw the rapid expansion and growth of Sugar Maple foliage,

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The fading of some early spring wildflowers,

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Marsh Marigold

And the fresh blooms of new arrivals in the sequence of bloom,

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Painted Trillium, the last of the 3 native trilliums to bloom

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Wild Apple tree

Plants within a species don’t bloom simultaneously, an adaptation that helps avoid catastrophic losses due to environmental extremes. There is a frost warning for tonight, but only 10 – 20% of the wild apple trees have started to bloom. Hoping we get through this with plenty of blossoms …and apples… to enjoy!

Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

Painted Trillium

Posting a photo journal has been very enlightening with regard to the strengths and weaknesses of my photography and photo inventory. After my recent trillium post I realized that I had too few photos of Painted Trillium and also needed to work more outside the box,  experiment more, and of course learn something in the process.

This morning I found a half dozen or so Painted Trilliums scattered about under an open canopy of Eastern Hemlock and Red Maple.at the edge of a dense stand of mature hemlock. I’ll share the results.

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All photos by NB Hunter

Spring Wildflowers – The Trilliums

In late April and early May I look for trilliums (or hope for a call from a friend to tell me they’ve started to bloom). It’s a rite of spring. They’re among the first and most visible of the woodland wildflowers to bloom and are easily identified by their large three-leaf and three-petal form. The Trillium bloom signals the bloom of bellwort, Trout Lily, violets, Marsh Marigold, Bloodroot and other spring wild flowers as well.

I know of three species of trillium in the area: White (Large-flowered), Red (Wake-robin, Birthroot or Purple Trillium) and Painted Trillium. White Trillium is the largest and most abundant, sometimes forming spectacular carpets across the forest floor. I may find a handful of Red Trillium in a carpet of thousands of White Trillium, something I can’t explain.  Both occur on rich woodland sites that are usually dominated by Sugar Maple and a variety of hardwood associates.

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Deer and livestock can devastate wild flower populations, and the trilliums are no exception. 25 years after cattle grazing was discontinued on my property, I discovered my first Red Trillium, but the blossoms were soon browsed by deer.  I was determined to win the battle and protected the remaining plant with a small garden fence. It is now thriving and several plants are currently in bloom. This experience explains, in part, why I often find an abundance of wildflowers on rugged, steep hillsides near roads – places where deer pressure is low and livestock are absent.

Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum)

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Red (Wake-robin, Birthroot, Purple) Trillium (Trillium erectum)

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White (Large-flowered) Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

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A woodland carpet of White Trillium; Quinn’s Woods