A Quadrium in 2018

Wes Hayward, 22 April 2018, update 18May2018

The middle of March is the time of year when trillium begin to appear in the woods south of our house.   By the end of the month they are there in full force, often in beds containing dozens of flowers, or even more.  

usual trillium
Here are some of the trillium we see in March and April.   The flowers themselves are 2 to 4 inches across with leaf structures that can be as much as a foot across.    Everything happens in groups of three: 3 petals,  3 small leaves under the flower,  3 much
larger leaves further below the flower.    The pedals are pure white, but turn to a lavender as they encounter more sunshine.   Some folks claim there is a lavender variation.   

Occasionally a variation occurs where the theme of three is replaced by a plant with flowers containing four petals.   The groups of leaves also occur with four members.   This is like the four leafed clovers we sought in our youth.    (I don't think I ever did find one of those!)

This is the mutant flower sample that I found this year.   For want of a better term, I've called them quadrium.    

This photo of the flower was taken two days after the initial shot and shows the changing color.

This is not the first quadrium I've seen, but they are pretty rare.    I think it's the 4th one in this area in period of almost 50 years.   We also saw one several years ago while hiking in the Columbia River Gorge.   


1 Month Later:

photo of May 18th We were out of town for almost a month.   I was curious to see the status of the plant when we returned, shown in the photo above.    The flower is nothing more than four shriveled petals.     I'm amazed that there is even this much of the flower left.   But the leaves are still there,  as robust as they were in April.    Other plants are growing and will soon dominate, bringing an end to this one.