Sunday, March 11, 2012

Pacific trillium ~ 03/11/12 ~ Pogonip

Pacific trillium / western wake-robin
Trillium ovatum
Melanthiaceae (formerly Liliaceae)

It seems that I've seen quite a number of trilliums highlighted in blog posts recently. Here in CA, common ones are Pacific trilliums and giant trilliums, as shown on John Wall's and Way Points. The rare snow trillium has made a show in Indiana and Ohio, as pictured on Get Your Botany On! and ohio birds and biodiversity. I find it interesting that patterns like this become apparent while perusing blogs, just like the past few months I've seen more snowy owl posts than ever before. Has this unusual winter played a role in these sightings, or is it mere coincidence?

From our own experience at Pogonip, we were delighted to find so many Pacific trilliums and two lone giant trilliums. I wish I had a better picture to show how prolific the Pacific trilliums were under the redwoods. In one section of the trail, they spread out as far as the eye could see. As I was looking up information on the Pacific trillium, I discovered from Jepson that the flowers start out white and age to pink. I've heard other flowers change colors once they're pollinated. Nature continually amazes me. For a well-researched blog post, check out Curbstone Valley Farm.


Imperfect and tense said...

Ah, the power of three :o)

Any idea why they're called Wake Robins?

Katie (Nature ID) said...

Hi, Graeme. I've assumed trilliums are commonly called wake robins because they're early spring blooms, like the "arrival" of robins in the spring. A cursory search on the internet confirms this belief, but there doesn't seem to be any factual references for the common name. Of course, here along the CA coast, I've been seeing robins around all winter, although these birds are not always apparent in colder winter climates.

Imperfect and tense said...

Thanks, Katie. Folklore can be very reliable, but sometimes not, as appears in this case. Over here we have Barnacle Geese, which were supposed to hatch from... barnacles? This conveniently explained their sudden appearance, before migration was more fully understood. Says little about Nature, but much about humans!

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I recently found this link about American robins and thought you might be interested: Your European robins are quite different, hence our cultural reference differences. I looked up your barnacle geese. It seems the folklore came about as a way around eating goose during religious fasts since if they came from the sea, then they must be fish. Human nature, indeed!