Drooping and Nodding Trillium!
These next two trilliums are somewhat alike, yet easily identified if you look for the right marks.
The first is the Drooping Trillium, Trillium flexipes. It also has the common name of Bent Trillium. It is mostly found in the southern part of our State, where it shares range with our second trillium, the Nodding Trillium. Identifying marks of the Drooping Trillium are that the pedicel (the stem above the leaves) is angled or carried horizontally, but rarely strongly curved. The filaments are much shorter than the anthers, and the ovary is pinkish to white. I chose the photo here to show you some of those marks. Photo from Eaton County. Flowers early May favoring rich wooded slopes on limestone soils, and along stream valleys.
The second photo is of the Nodding Trillium Trillium cernuum. This trillium can be found statewide, but is often overlooked because the flower is hidden beneath its large leaves. On this trillium the filaments and anthers are about the same length and the ovary is white
to light purple. The anthers are usually a lavendar/gray color. The
pedicel is also strongly recurved or declined with the flowers beneath the leaves. Flowers in May and June, favoring areas along streams and conifer-hardwood swamps.
Photo from Alger County.
Flowers of both of these species can be found in pink and red as trilliums hybridize and can be quite confusing to identify in the field. Yet these early spring flowers brighten the woods and herald warmer weather. Something we are all looking for this year !
Dale and Ruth