Creature Feature: Pacific Trillium

Is there a more iconic spring wildflower than the Pacific Trillium (Trillium ovatum)? Well, maybe the crocus comes close. But in the Pacific Northwest, the three white petals of Pacific Trillium, or “wake robin”, are a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

You can find these sensitive, long lived wildflowers in shady redwood forests, where they sprout their showy blossoms from an underground rhizome. Their flowers attract native bees and other important pollinators, and their fleshy seeds are carried off by ants. Once finished with their meal, the ants will toss out the seed and it will sprout into a new trillium. It can take as long as 10 years for a trillium seed to grow large enough for its first bloom…but for flowers as pretty as these, its worth the wait!

Philip Bouchard on Flickr