Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Trilliums know it's Spring

While the pesky winter of 2013 refuses to relinquish it's bitterly cold grip on the garden, plants in the cold greenhouse are going strong and some of the early trilliums are looking there best.  Among my favorites are the various incarnations of Trillium maculatum.  Hailing from the deep south, this species will grow outside in my USDA zone 5/6 climate, but is a very early riser and can be damaged by deep freezes during this early period of growth.  The plant fares much better in the cold greenhouse and during cool springs the display can last for weeks


This is a particularly large form of T. maculatum and one of my favorites.  


Not the greatest photo, but my hand gives some scale to the photo.  This form of T. maculatum is about twice the size of other forms of the species I grow.


Picture above and below is a more typical form of T. maculatum.  The silvery leaves of these plants make the deep hues of the flower stand out.  Like other sessile Trillium species, there can be much phenotypic variation between populations.



Above is a subtly bicolored form of T. maculatum. This plant also has a particularly clear red flower color.  


Here is a form of Trillium underwoodii from the southern portion of the species range.  Note the characteristic, particularly long flower petals.  This is one of the earliest risers in my collection and can sometimes emerging stems can be found as early as Christmas.  


Another southern sessile Trillium species that I am becoming quite fond of is Trillium ludovicianum. This is a species of subtle beauty; I find that it is best appreciated up close and is particularly amenable to container cultivation.  It is also relatively fast growing for a Trillium and readily forms clumps.  I have not tried this outside but suspect it would perform well in a sheltered location.


Do to the cold, prolonged winter (and spring) of 2013, most pedicellate trilliums are still emerging and nowhere close to flowering.  There is one exception; this white Trillium erectum (looking very similar to T. simile) is very early to flower each year.  



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