What You Can See on April 29
Submitted by Ted Williams on Sat, 04/29/2006 - 08:14.
From Audubon’s Earth Almanac by Ted Williams and compiled in “Wild Moments,” edited by Connie Isbell, Illustrations by John Burgoyne, Storey Publishing, 174 pages. White Reprise As the last patches of snow shrink under a high, lingering sun, the woods turn white again. In rich forestland from Ontario and Quebec and south to Arkansas and Georgia, large-flowered trilliums are in full bloom. Like all trilliums, they have three leaves, three sepals, three petals, and a three-chambered pistil. Other common varieties include the painted trillium—so called for the fuchsia veins in the center of its white, wavy-edged petals—and the aptly named stinking Benjamin, or wet-dog trillium, which seems to be appreciated only by its carrion-fly pollinators. Trilliums have evolved a unique method of dispersal. In late summer the capsule containing the seeds splits open, spilling them on the ground. Attached to each seed is a crest composed of a sweet material relished by ants. Ants drag away the crest with its attached seed, then eat the former and discard the latter.