Mid May 2016

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


The fading of some early spring wildflowers,


Marsh Marigold

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


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


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.





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.


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)




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





White (Large-flowered) Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)







A woodland carpet of White Trillium; Quinn’s Woods