Drooping Trillium

A friend called to say that he had seen several trilliums with large leaves along a trail in one of the county conservation areas. He thought they may be Large White Trilliums. Bob followed our friend’s directions and found the small group of Drooping Trilliums (Trillium flexipes). They were in among some tangled vegetation with other treasures – Bellwort, Jack-in-the Pulpit and other spring ephemerals - just where they had been described..

While the Large White are lovely, we think that the Drooping Trillium and the Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum) are among the most charming of the trilliums. There are many trillium species across temperate North America and Asia. As a group they have been moved around taxonomically and currently are listed as in the tribe Parideae.

Both species are similar as the blooms are at the end of pedicels (stalks) that poke out from clusters of three large leaves. The Drooping blossoms usually are more erect and stay above the leaves. The Nodding blossoms often are tipped below the leaves. While the Drooping Trilliums’ stamens are usually white or yellow, the Nodding’s stamens may be a deep red color, at least along the edges.

Whichever species we find, it is almost always possible to make an interesting image to celebrate the beauty and importance of these contributors to biodiversity in the woodland areas. Sometimes it is difficult to capture the gesture or essence of the subject because of location, what surrounds it and where light falls.

Linda has been reading Jay Meisel’s work on “Light, Gesture & Color” in photography. She thinks that gesture may be the place in the composition from which the subject speaks to the viewer most clearly. It literally waves “look here.” Not because of any arbitrary composition rules, but because it is in the right location to wave most vigorously.

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