Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, I suppose I have to pick the White Trillium – trillium rhomboideum grandiflorum - as my final favorite native spring wildflower. When I was growing up in the Niagara Falls area, the hardwood forests would be blanketed with white and red trilliums each March and April. Ontario chose the trillium as its provincial flower in 1937. My cub scout uniform even bore a patch with the idyllic three-petaled blossom on its right-side. Its name is somewhat self-descriptive. “Tri” meaning three-petaled, and “lium” referring to its being part of the lily family.
Threatened in many parts of the Midwest, they do not transplant well or tolerate being picked. This work is left to ants that collect trillium seeds to eat their elaisomes (fleshy structures that are attached to the seeds of many plant species) and distribute the seeds to new locations. Vespid wasps do this this by entering the berries and carrying off the seeds. Deer also eat the flowers and foliage, passing the seeds through their digestive tracts and helping distribute the seeds across long distances. However, increasing deer populations can ultimately destroy trillium populations.
In Matthew 6:28 Jesus asked, “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin.” The passage invites us to ponder how much God cares for the lowly flowers of the field. Without any effort on our part, they reappear each year in all their glory. If He takes care of them, we can certainly trust that He’ll care even more for us.
So what are some of your favorite spring wildflowers?