It is always a delight to come across wildflowers, but there is something especially delightful about Trilliums. Maybe it's the simple form, having just one stalk with three petals and three leaves (they’re technically not leaves, but bracts.) Or maybe it’s the early flowering, a much needed break from the gloomy winter. Regardless of why we all love them so much, Trilliums are a staple of the spring experience that should not be missed.
Alderbrook Resort and Spa is home to the Western Trillium, also known as Trillium ovatum for its three egg-shaped petals, or Western Wake-robin because of its bloom coinciding with the coming of the birds. The white flowers are popping up right now, which will fade to a pink as spring drags on. You can find them along many parts of our nature trails, as well as the resort grounds.
Trilliums are perennial plants, with one source reporting an individual living over 50 years. They have a complex life cycle that will make you appreciate them even more. After the seed has been dispersed by an ant or other critter, it will germinate into a single small leaf, referred to as a cotyledon. If the seed stays damp, this could happen the following summer, but if it dries out, it could take a couple more years to germinate.
In the following years, the rhizome, or root, will shoot out another single leaf, albeit larger than the cotyledon, until it has enough energy to produce three leaves, and then eventually the flower will emerge as well. So if conditions are just right, it takes the plant four years to flower, but it could take many more.
We invite you to enjoy these phenomenal flowers here at Alderbrook. And as much as we might want to pick these flowers to bring back from the trail, please always remember to leave them for the next guest to enjoy, too. Thank you for following the outdoor ethics of Leave No Trace, and we look forward to seeing you soon!