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Posted: Feb/23/2009 11:57 AM PST
This is a wildflower question & I don't see an appropriate forum, so I'll put it here.
In a nearby woods, trilliums grow bountifully.
There is the very occasional white one, but almost all are red.
I understand that in most places, it's the white that is more common.
Might there be some factor...soil?, nearby trees? that would explain this?
The woods are about 50% cedar, with the rest being maple, aspen, birtch & walnut.
It's beside a creek, but has good drainage.(not swampy).
It could just be chance, but I believe there is a reason that explains it.
Oddly enough, on the other side of the creek, no trilliums grow in the mature forest...another head scratcher.
Thanks for any theories.
Location: SW KY/zone 6
Posted: Feb/25/2009 11:45 PM PST
There are several different varieties of trillium, so you may be seeing a couple different varieties growing together in the same area. I know as a girl in Michigan, I saw the white ones (I even remember my mom teaching me that tri- meant 3 and referred to the 3-petalled flowers). Here in KY, there is a variety called 'sessile', meaning stalk-less--the flowers are 3 thin burgundy petals that do not rise above the large leaves on stalks but seem to sit right atop the leaves (the leaves, by the way, are dark green and mottled with light green patches).
It's also possible to find a 'sport', or mutation, in any given variety. Among the Sessile trilliums I have seen a yellow-petalled flower--all other features of the plant were identical to the sessiles EXCEPT for flower color.
Or you could even have a naturlally occuring hybrid between 2 different trillium species. It happens in nature from time to time.
Posted: Feb/26/2009 11:53 AM PST
Thank you Country Kitty.
I asked Susan Farmer this question & she kindly sent the following...
(the link to her web page is at the bottom of the email)
> I read through part of your web page, but the termanalogy is daunting, & I
> didn't see what I was looking for.
> I hope you don't mind what I hope is a simple question.
not a problem! I'm just glad somebody has Trillium flowering.
Apparently, I'm living in one of the few counties in Georgia with no
> In a nearby woods, trilliums grow bountifully.
> There is the very occasional white one, but almost all are red.
> I understand that in most places, it's the white that is more common.
> Might there be some factor...soil?, nearby trees? that would explain this?
> The woods are about 50% cedar, with the rest being maple, aspen, birtch &
Are your Trillium pedicellate or sessile? (i.e., is there a stem
between the flower and the leaves?) -- if they're in flower *now*, I'm
betting that they're sessile-flowered. The only *white*
sessile-flowered Trillium live on the west coast (T. chloropetalum and
T. albidum.) If you have pedicellate Trillium, they're probably not
flowering now -- but more than likely you've got either T. sulcatum or
T. erectum, and red is the "normal" color for those species. In fact,
the white ones can be said to be "albino." Trillium grandiflorum,
which is a white (or hot pink) species has the most widespread of the
distributions, but it doesn't grow everywhere.
> It's beside a creek, but has good drainage.(not swampy).
There are a few species that grow in swampy places, but not many. Do
you happen to know if your soil is acidic or limestone-based?
> It could just be chance, but I believe there is a reason that explains it.
> Oddly enough, on the other side of the creek, no trilliums grow in the
> mature forest...another head scratcher.
Indeed! Trilliums grow where they will. Sometimes you can transplant
them ok -- sometimes not. It does depend on the species. Are there
deer on the other side of the creek? Deer can wipe out Trillium
Where are you, if you don't mind my asking.
Hope this helps!
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
Division of Science and Math