Mariton: Woodland Wildflowers!

May 8, 2018

by Tim Burris, Preserve Manager.  Photos by Carole Mebus.

Large-flowered Trillium

Wildflowers are about a week and a half behind average at Mariton this spring.  There are still some really beautiful woodland flowers out there, and things will catch up very shortly.  What more can you say about the beauty of a white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum).  Such simple and stunning beauty.  This wildflower has disappeared in many woodlands due to deer browsing, but there is a patch at Mariton that has been protected and is spreading.

Perfoliated Bellwort

The Perfoliated Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) is abundant at Mariton.  It is starting to bloom everywhere along the trails, and even in the meadows.  This is so well named, with its pendulant blossom resembling an uvula in the back of the mouth, and its stem that perforates its leaves (or foliage).  I just love its beauty.  You have to get down low to appreciate the flower, as it seems to humbly bow its head.

Male Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Until recently, I was unaware that Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) males had a “trap door” at the bottom of the spathe.  This is one way to tell your male flowers apart from the females.  The plant forces flies all the way to the bottom of the cup in order to get covered with pollen.  They can’t get out through the top, yet they have to carry the precious pollen to a female.  So, an exit hole is provided at the bottom for the fly to escape the male flower.  Exquisite.

Wild Ginger

Another flower that is probably pollinated by flies is Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense).  The foliage of this low growing plant is attractive.  People always ask “What is that?” when we come across a patch.  (Gardeners:  it would make an attractive ground cover in the right place in your yard!)  But when I move the leaves aside to reveal the flower hiding, they get really excited.