Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Promise of Trillium Seeds

The Large-flowered Trilliums have completed their bloom stage and are proceeding with seed development.  Only three plants produced blooms this year and those blooms were staggered over several weeks.  Two of the plants had overlapping blooming periods and I took the opportunity to transfer pollen between those two flowers.  This is one of the plants that I hand pollinated. 

The ovary on this plant is enlarging, so I’m hopeful that seeds are being developed. 

The second plant involved with the pollen transfer, lost its flower.  There was nothing left of the flower stalk to indicate that the flower had been taken by some browsing animal.  I’m thinking that the flower just failed to pollinate and dropped off.

This plant produced its bloom after those of the other two plants had faded.  Without another flower to draw from, I was unable to perform any hand pollination here. 

The fact that the flower parts have remained fresh, gives me hope that this flower was naturally pollinated.  Large-flowered Trilliums generally do not self pollinate.  This species does exist on neighboring properties, so it’s possible that insect carried pollen was delivered to this flower.

Now it’s just a matter of waiting to see if I get some mature seed.  I’ll take charge of distributing any seeds that do develop.  I’ve been watching this small group of plants for over 25 years and natural methods of seed dispersal haven’t done much to expand the Trillium population.  It seems an appropriate time for some human intervention. 

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