Blessed with a warm, partially sunny day Saturday, fellow-father-in-law, Rich, and I took a short drive up the road to check on a patch of Large-Flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) which grows on a certain wooded hillside. Most years, the dense stand of luxuriant plants with their showy blooms spangles well over an acre—a sight that, coming upon them as you amble over the brow of the forested knoll, never fails to take your breath away.
Unfortunately, this time around, the plants were sparse and undersize, nothing like the knee-high thousand-fold display of white and pink flowers from years past. I was disappointed, but only mildly so, for there were still trilliums about…and even a single Large-Flowered Trillium in bloom is still a thing of striking beauty.
Trillium were so named by 18th-century botanist Carl Linnaeus because everything about the plant came in threes…three petals, three sepals, three leaves, three ovaries, and berries with three ribs.
There are thirty-plus species of trilliums native to the U.S. Ohio has eight species, one of which is endangered, another listed as threatened, and a third which was collected just once, in 1879, and has not been found inside our borders since. Large-Flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), also called Large White Trillium, is the state's official wildflower.
All these photos are of Large-Flowered Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum). You'll notice the flower at the head of the post is pink rather than white. This is not a pink variation—though pink variations of Trillium grandiflorum are occasionally found. Rather, this is simply part of the flower's aging process. The bloom starts out a showy white, but with time, gradually takes on a pale-pink hue which, a day or two before wilting, turns this very dark pink. The prominent yellow, pollen-dusted anthers are quite distinctive.
If you'd like to learn a bit more about Ohio's trillium, plus look at some excellent and lovely photos, here are several worthwhile links to recent pages by fellow Buckeye bloggers: (Kelly, here and here), (A.L. Gibson, here and here), (Mike, here), and (Michael, here.)