A candidate for the all-time best flower name is Wake Robin (Trillium erectum).
You can discover this woodlands native for yourself just inside the entrance to
the Watson-Symington woodlands of New Canaan Land Trust.
It grows along the trail, with Jack-in- the-Pulpit (another descriptive name) and
Christmas fern. When you walk the marked loop trail off Wellesley Drive, you’ll
see many wildflowers—the aptly named Wake Robin is one of the earliest.
We are gladder than ever to welcome spring songbirds and wildflowers after the
just-past winter. This small harbinger, also called purple trillium, thrives in the rich
woods found in several of our Land Trust properties.
Trillium is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants. Trillium has a
fleshy organ that produces small fruits attracting ants, which take the fruits to
their nest and eat them, putting the seeds in their “garbage.” When the seeds
germinate, the helper ants have planted the new generation of Wake Robins.
While these wildflowers are beautiful to look at, they are also extremely
fragile. Picking them seriously injures the plant by preventing the leaf-like bracts
from producing food for the next year, often killing the plant and ensuring none
will grow in its place.
There are a few species of trillium native to our area, part of hundreds of species
in temperate forests of the world. For a charming addition to your home rock
garden, buy Showy Trillium or Nodding Trillium at a nursery specializing in
wildflowers—like Oliver’s in Fairfield, Sam Bridge’s in Greenwich and New
Canaan’s Elise Nursery.
Area residents are encouraged to enjoy trillium’s gentle beauty as they come
across these flowers in the woods. Photograph them, point them out to children
or co-hikers, but do not pick them.
Here’s a warm welcome to springtime in New Canaan’s Land Trust.