J.E. Shields
Fri, 02 May 2008 08:57:02 PDT
I spent last weekend in the Smokies (Great Smoky Mountains National Park 
and environs), riding around with a local friend looking at Trillium in 
bloom. This guy can even spot Trillium NOT in bloom, from a pickup truck 
traveling 35 mph.

Still, we saw Trillium! Around Gatlinburg, Tennessee, just outside the 
park, Trillium luteum were as common as dandelions along roadsides, both 
outside the park as well as inside. We saw slopes covered with Trillium 
grandiflorum in some places and with T. erectum album in others in the 
park. In the lower elevation areas around Gatlinburg, we saw T. simile, 
which is probably a subspecies or form of T. erectum album. In a very few 
places we saw a very few plants of T. rugelii, a white nodding trillium, 
and T. vaseyi, the red nodding trillium. (Not both in the same places.) I 
also saw imported (from Kentucky and Missouri) T. flexipes, which looks to 
me like T. rugelii. The flexipes were planted in my friend's research nursery.

The nursery is devoted to studying questions like how does T. simile relate 
to T. erectum album? How does yellow T. luteum relate to red-brown T. 
cuneatum? Are the occasional red-brown plants in colonies of luteum mutants 
or hybrids with the distant cuneatum? He works under the All Taxa 
Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) project in Great Smoky Mountains National 
Park, and he is the Trillium specialist in the project.

We did not see T. undulatum, which has not been found inside the park so 
far, nor T. catesbaei, nor T. sulcatum. Still, I don't think there are many 
places where you can spend one weekend, stay within a radius of about 20 
miles, and see 6 species of Trillium in bloom. It was a great plant 
weekend! There were also Claytonia caroliniana and Erythronium umbilicatum 
in bloom at high elevations and Sedum ternatum, Anemonella thalictroides, 
Geranium maculatum, Iris cristata, and Maianthemum racemosum in bloom in 
abundance at lower elevations.

Now if we could just do something about the food.......

Jim Shields
back in central Indiana (USA) with a few new roadside weeds.

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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