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Unique Trillium in the Last Days of Spring

April 27, 2016  |  Permalink

The trees are leafing out and the final stage of the Spring Ephemeral Wildflowers has begun in the forest. But there are still a lot of beautiful flowers to see. Everywhere there seems to be green as our wonderful lush state gets fully underway with the growing season. Look for the small bits of color among the green leaves. Sometimes you must look under the green leaves. The Mayapple is in bloom now with its flower under the umbrella like leaves. Only the ones that have a pair of leaves will have a flower. There will be other plants blooming all the way through October but are scattered among different habitats. The summer flowers tend to be most numerous in the sunny more open areas.

A highlight of the late ephemeral season for me is a Trillium which is found in the western half of Middle Tennessee and Decatur and Hardin Counties in West Tennessee. The Twisted Trillium has horizontal spreading petals that twist around like an airplane propeller. If you sniff the flower, be prepared for the unpleasant strong carrion aroma. You can find these unique Trilliums on the Western Highland Rim at Montgomery Bell State Park for the next two weeks or so.

There are many other beautiful sights to enjoy, all around you, when you visit a Tennessee State Park. The trails are calling you.

About the author

Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath is a native of west Tennessee, where his family’s farm was just 15 miles from the Tennessee River. After graduating from UT Martin and working seasonally for several years for the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks, he has spent the last 33 years with state parks. Randy worked as a ranger/naturalist at South Cumberland State Park on the Cumberland Plateau and at Radnor Lake Natural Area in Nashville until 2007 when he was given the opportunity to be the statewide naturalist for the state park system.