Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Trillium cuneatum and virvidescens in Flower

Trillium cuneatum and T. virvidescens are blooming. I'm happy to see multiple ones that flowered last year have produce another one this year equally strong.

Trillium virvidescens
In the mid to late afternoon, as the intensity of the sun dies down, small flies show up to the flower. I like to think of the flower as some sort of trendy night club but really it's not that exciting.

Trillium cuneatum
I have no idea what species of fly this is. Some women on the internet is calling these Black Fly which bite humans. I fail to see how this little vinegar fly looking thing could penetrate skin. I'll keep an eye out though.

Trillium virvidescens
So far I believe these are pollinating the flowers as I've seen then marching around on the anthers. Now this leads me to believe that T. cuneatum is producing some sort of fragrance to do that. I'll have to put my nose down tomorrow and smell. I know T. erecta smells like rotting fish. 

[Added Later] It turns out I have two species of Trillium pictured here. T. cuneatum has full red petals and doesn't produce any odor. Trillium virvidescens has the half green petals and is producing a rotten apple-like fragrance to attract the flies. 

Trilliums are probably the best example of plants that disperse their seeds with ants. I'll have more on that later in the year.