Sunday, February 27, 2011

Spotting Trout Lilies


A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from a friend that informed us of a spot in Grady County, Georgia where folks can go and see an amazing display of trout lilies. The site is only open from 1-4pm on selected days when the trout lilies are in bloom, which is only a few weeks. I was afraid that we were not going to be able to go as those limited hours are almost entirely contained within  my school day and it takes over an hour to drive there. However, we were able to go on Saturday, and we were so very glad we did.

Trout lilies are also known as dogtooth violets.

100_3598 Erythronium americanum  is more aptly named trout lily as the plant is not a violet, but a lily, and the trout-like mottling is also obvious on the leaves.


The plant is interesting. The flower is lovely. But it is the shear numbers that made it so fascinating. They claim there are millions. A trail has been set up to guide the visitor along a ridge and into a low area, circling back but lower than you were. As you look up the slope, the ground is covered with trout lilies and some trilliums.


This gives you the idea of some of the density.



The flowers are only open  for a couple of hours each afternoon when the sun is on them, making photographing them challenging. But goodness know, folks were out there trying!

Now imagine this whole area covered with trout lilies.


and this…


And on and on for acres in these relatively open woods. There probably are millions.


I noticed that as the yellow bloom fades, it takes on a more reddish hue.


We read that they are fertilized by ants. Those flowers grew a seed pod.


After the flower drops, only the seed pod is left behind.

This plant shows three stages going on.


At some point, I assume the seed pod will spring open, flinging the seeds to disperse them.

Here is the website for Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve:

It was well worth the  drive.

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