Spring Outing V

Wildflower Groupings

Red Trillium are early bloomers, along with Hepatica. I often photograph them together. Click me for a 2019 Red Trillium post of photographs from 2007 taken in Fillmore Glen Park.

Here we have two photographs from the end of the April 20, 2020 session. I finished a series of macro Hepatica and, tired (emotionally, not physically) and not wanting to step up the slope, captured the following grouping of a single Red Trillium, lit by a bolt of sunlight, White Hepatica, fern and the budding White Trillim from yesterday’s post. Not the same trillium, a continuation of all the individuals in bud.

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These were 15 feet or so up the slope above the South Rim Trail. I used the 100 mm macro lens, with the spring breezes ISO set to 2500, f/5.6 for a 1/200 exposure.

Not far away, also upslope, was this flower grouping against a moss covered log. Park forestry leaves fallen trees in place to return to the soil. Camera settings are the same.

Both photographs were handheld.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Spring Outing IV

Turn to Light

Wildflowers flourished where the slope turned to the north and late afternoon light spread across the small ravine created by a small stream. This early in the season White Trillium buds were forming between three green bracts.

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The above photograph taken handheld with a variable zoom lens captures the plant and environment. On the forest floor is twig of hemlock, probably knocked off by squirrels feeding on the tiny cones. Oak leaves from last season frame the dark green bracts. We also see a few wintergreen leaves and the rich soil.

With the low light ISO is 2000, the f-stop of 5.6 allowed crisp details of the hemlock and wintergreen, the focus is soft on the oak leaves. Where is topography allowed sunlight, the White Trillium were a bit further along. Here is a bud opening.

Here I used a travel tripod and a macro lens with f-stop opened up to 3.2, not lens maximum, and all but the forward bract tip are in focus. A lower camera angle places surroundings in distance, allowing all to be blurred unrecognizable: the plant is the star of this shot. ISO 800 with the ample light. I was struggling with the spring breezes, having to wait for a break to take each exposure.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Are White and Red Trillium a different species?

A question of speciation

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Questions about speciation of flora can be complex and are so in the case of trillium. A straightforward answer is “yes,” white and red trillium are different species with distinct characteristics, as can be seen from the first photograph.

The white trillium below are in the species Trillium grandiflorum as evidenced by coloration, the shapes of the flower petals and anthers. For this discussion I will focus on the flower petal shape and coloration. The grandiflorum petals are broad at the base and wavy, compared to the more blade-like red trillium, Trillium erectum, straight-edged petals.

There is the obvious difference of color, but Trillium erectum has a white form, not seen here.

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Then, there is this specimen, below, with a stippling of red on blade-like petals with wavy edges. Here is where the experts differ and, in summary, many believe trillium species are an interrelated complex with the possibility of hybridization, sharing of genetic material between the different species to produce fertile offspring. This specimen may be an example of this hybridization.

Click me for another Trillium posting
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Life and Death

Rumination on wild flower blooms

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An access road, now blocked with huge boulders by the State Park, leads to this dam at the head of Fillmore Glen. I stop here for reflection at times and have climbed behind the dam for photographs. It is possible to drive up the south side of the glen on a poorly maintained road and park next to the boulders. In this season (spring) the surrounding forest is carpeted in wildflowers. Hepatica, trillium, dutchman’s breeches. One day, years ago, I pulled in behind a late model convertible with a license plate holder advising the owner was a member of the 10th Mountain division and a World War II veteran.

They were a well dressed and groomed couple. The white haired driver, in his late 80’s at least, patiently waited while she, a frail woman, walked the margins of the forest, enjoying the wildflowers. It was my impression this was a ritual for them, developed over the years. One of the few spring outings left to them.

Wildflower displays such as what I shared last posting develop over hundreds of years. The massed trillium are on land not disturbed for thousands of years, since the last ice age. These same spring wonders were certainly enjoyed by the Iroquois before us.

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On the gorge slope below the parking area, in a hollow on the north side of a large (I recall) oak, one early sunny spring morning I discovered the last resting place of a deer. Only the bones and some fur remained, the visible portion resembles the Capitulum and trochlea of a human arm bone and, indeed, there was a scapula close by. The season is evoked by the unfurling fern against the based of the oak.

Dark, Unwritten Forest Secrets
Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Massed White Trillium Blooms

Wonder of the northern spring forest

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I came upon this display April 2004, a wonder of the northern spring forest.

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills