Ohio’s official state flower can be found in woods, forests TRILLIUM
By EILEEN W. NOVOTNY
OSU Extension master gardener volunteer
When I was growing up, my parents built a small cottage on property adjacent to an Ohio state park with the idea of making it their retirement home.
We loved it and spent as much time there as possible, hiking through the state forest and nature preserve, and canoeing and fishing on the state lake.
Spring time in the woods was my favorite time of the year because the woods were home to the richest, most diverse population of wildflowers you could ever imagine.
Thanks to the good stewardship of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in its promotion of wildflower appreciation and conservation, a walk through those woods today brings into sight many of my favorite plants in their natural habitat.
Wildflowers do not do well if transplanted, so I was overjoyed to find hikers and campers in the area have followed ODNR’s tagline to “Let Them Live in Your Eye, Not Die in Your Hand.”
One wildflower which you will find in all 88 Ohio counties is the plant commonly known as the “large white trillium” (Trillium grandiflorum). This impressive wildflower was named as the state’s official wildflower March 5, 1987. Along with 44 other native Ohio trillium species they belong to the lily family (Liliaceae).
In early spring when the tree canopy still allows for quite a bit of filtered sun light, Trillium grandiflorum is beautiful and robust enough to be easily found by any casual hiker with an eye for native flora.
By early to mid-May, expansion of leaves will have reduced sunlight to 10 to 15 percent of what’s available in March and April. It is in this narrow window between winter and late spring that vernal wildflowers flourish.
When this plant starts to bloom in early April the petals start out white and slowly turn pink as they age.
Its showy bright white flowers can be found on stems up to 20 inches high held above large green leaves.
Huge stands of large white trillium are breathtaking. In rich, understory deciduous upland temperate forests they are often found growing in among diverse wildflower populations.
Trilliums are long-lived plants. Our official state wildflower Trillium grandiflorum can live for 25 years and it may take more than three years before the flowers are ready to bloom. White-tailed deer like them and gobble trilliums like candy.
Learn more about trillium at http://go.osu.edu/trillium. Learn more about Ohio Wildflowers at http://go.osu.edu/ohiowildflowers.