Climb to Gorge Trail

Potential danger abounds

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the third post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Emerging from the blind canyon of Cowsheds Waterfall, we are faced with this gorgeous pool fed by Dry Creek (yes, that is the name). Formed by a dam, the water is deep and very cold.

We were standing on this footbridge for the above photograph. The trail to Cowsheds is on the far side of Dry Creek and to the right.

We have yet to count these steps, don’t know why. The limestone blocks were quarried locally from the same stone of the creek bed. The gorge trail begins at the top.

Trillium Seed Capsule

This is a Purple Trillium, I believe, formal name Trillium erectum. It is a large specimen judging form the width of the bracts, leaf like structures at the based of the flower stalk. When fertilized, the ovaries form this seed capsule containing up to 16 seeds, each with lipid with a high content of oleic acid. During summer, the capsule opens, seeds disperse. Ants encounter the seed elaiosome, the oleic acid content triggers “corpse carrying behavior.” The ants carry the seeds into their nests, consume the lipids leaving the seeds. After a year dormancy the seeds sprout and the additional depth in the ant nest provides a good start.

Trillium are a favorite food of deer, unfortunately. Some seeds are spread this way, passing through the digestive tract and out in fecal waste. I use the color of the seed capsule to identify it was Purple Trillium. In my experience the white variety (Trillium grandiflorum, and others) has a light colored seed capsule.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

10 thoughts on “Climb to Gorge Trail

  1. Seeing that Trillium reminds me of my childhood and how once I pick some trilliums for my science teacher to bring in from our farm and he informed me those are endangered species in Michigan and US. He was upset, not pleased as I intended. I didn’t realize they were endangered because our entire Farm was filled with them throughout the woods but I still remember it today. Lessons learned.

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      1. ha, ha…I understood it did not apply to your story. On that same subject, even collecting the seeds is against the law. Trillium are still going strong in Fillmore Glen in spite of collectors and White Tail Deer.

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  2. Interesting that the seeds survive the ingestion by deer. I have heard that there was a tree that became extinct when the Dodo bird became extinct because passing through the Dodo’s intestines was a vital part of the journey to being a fertile seed.

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