Spring is the time for spectacular display in under story plants. Britain has its magnificent blue bells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), and our southern neighbours have Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica).
In Ontario (as well as in Québec and all the northern states that have a climate similar to ours) the best known display is provided by Trillium grandiflorum.
Unfortunately Trillium grandiflorum is a favorite food of the white tail deer. The plant can be rather rare if there are many deer around.
Below is a sample of the millions of trilliums growing in the woodlot of my friend Gwynne.
Growing among the Trillium grandiflorum you find a few red Trillium erectum. These are never numerous. They are not as big as the white one (as the name grandiflorum suggests), and they start blooming before the grandiflorum.
You also notice among the white trillium some light pink ones. These are actually white ones that turn pink as they age. As well as the pink, you have white ones with green stripes.
Unfortunately these markings are due to a mycoplasma infection which eventually kills the plant. My friend Gwynne encourages visitors to pick these, hoping to reduce the number of infected plants as much as possible.
Trillium grandiflorum is the best known carpeting plant in our forest, but it is not the only one. Erythronium americanum can be just as prolific. The effect is more subdued than the one produced by trilliums, but just as beautiful.
I end with yet another native plant that carpets the woods at this time of the year. The cover it produces is very thick, but the plant grows in patches instead of blanketing whole areas like the other two. This plant is the May apple.
|Podophyllum peltatum |