Thursday, January 16, 2014

Plants can adapt...

I thought I would share one of my favorite photographs.  This photo shows that plants are tough and can adapt to less than ideal growing conditions.

Trilliums coming up through a cut in a log.
This photo shows two Large-flowered Trilliums (Trillium grandiflorum) emerging from a saw-cut in a log.  This picture was taken near a trail in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  The log was from a tree that had fallen across the trail at some time.  The trail crew cleared the fallen tree and tossed the sections of logs into the woods to decay.  Then one of two things happened.

First, the section of log may have landed on some existing Trilliums - two of those plants survived being covered by the log and eventually their sun-seeking stems found the cut in the log and grew through it. 

An alternate explanation is that the plants were not there before the log landed in this space.  One way that the Trillium is spread is by ants dispersing their seeds.  There may have been a colony of ants nesting beneath this log.  The ants brought the seeds from a trillium into their nest as food.  The ants ate a fleshy coating that covers the seed and then discarded the seed in their garbage pile where they then germinated and grew up through the cut.

To learn more about the Large-flowered Trillium look here.

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