Friday, May 15, 2009

Fun with Nature #4

Acres and acres of moist and warmer earth has produced a ground cover with white floral beauties, something "new to us" on our new property here in the east.

Perhaps you may ask ..

What exactly is this type of wildflower?


Just as each State and/or Province has the perfect floral emblem assigned and associated to them, here in the Province of Ontario ours is the "White Trillium".

Upon further "nature fun" investigations, our young daughter's curiosities have resulted in the pleasant discovery and early previewing of an entire growing meadow of white flowers, white trillium flowers actually which are flourishing in abundance, oodles of them that continue to explode all over the surface of the grounds underneath the forest of trees in our own yard.

Thrilled, she was able to identify this new
flower and came running to show me

Truly these are a perfect plants for forest floors, so very wild, utterly carefree as they have no preference to sun or shade, nor about alkaline or acid soils, and they return year after year to celebrate the warmth and blessings of springtime.

Their solitary white flowers stand erect high atop of their stems ready to greet us on our morning walkabouts along our prickly makeshift trails out back.

There is one problem however, something we learned, um - AFTER our daughter picked this flower above for me;

"Large-flowered trillium has a fascinating seed dispersal mechanism - its seeds are dispersed by ants through a process called myrmecochory (pronounced "mirme ko ko re"). Attached to the outside of the seeds is a fleshy structure called an elaiosome. The elaiosome is rich in oils and proteins. Ants carry the seed to their nest and feed the elaiosome to their larvae. The remaining seed is discarded in the ant's nutrient-rich waste pile. This symbiotic relationship benefits the ant, which gets a food source, and benefits the plant because the seed is dispersed, is protected from rodents, and is placed in a nutrient rich area in the ants nest where the seed has a greater likelihood of growing."

(excerpt from Andy's Northern Ontario Wildflowers website)

So lovely...