“Mid-April Wake-Robin”

“Cool April hikes bring such joy. There is always something new, not always obvious or evident, but when you look around new surprises and revelations always present themselves.” – Ed Lehming

The spring that began so mild and warm has settled back to a bit more normal pattern of cool nights and misty days. The plants and flowers that seemed so accelerated have slowed down as well. This has been a good thing because it has allowed me to enjoy the early bloomers for a few more days and has spaced out the opening of others.

I’ve wandered the woods nearly every day this week, observing the subtle changes. I’m seeing the leaves of Trout Lilies and Trillium push through the leaves, ready to burst into bloom any day now, once the conditions are right. The cool and damp days have caused the Spring Beauties to close up for the time being, also waiting for some sunshine before they open up once more. Single day bloomers like Bloodroot are hanging in for an extra day, providing me an extra opportunity to photograph them.

Many of these things are not obvious to the casual eye, they are things you need to look for and spend time with. I’m constantly surprised as other hikers pass by me asking what I am photographing and seem amazed that there are flowers blooming once I show them.

Not everything in obvious however, and some plants take a bit of extra effort and fortuitous timing to spot this time of year. As I said, the trilliums are beginning to show through the ground, blossoms still tightly sealed, awaiting a warm day or two. The majority in this forest are White Trilliums or Trillium Grandiflorum. A less populous species, which also favours these rich woods is the Wake-Robin or Trillium Erectum, also known as Stinking Benjamin. The Wake-Robins are actually quite foul smelling and their odor and red colour attract flies as pollinators, smelling of rotten meat. I tested this and they do, in fact, reek.

The Wake-Robins tend to bloom a few days before their white counterparts and since the whites seemed close to blooming I looked more carefully for the reds. Red is a surprisingly difficult color to see in the forest, but once you pick up on it, it’s fairly easy. I began my search by looking deeper in the forest for deep green bunches of trilliums and noticed a small splash of deep red in the distance. Upon closer investigation I came across this single, fully-opened blossom, among many others soon to open. The red trilliums also tend to ‘nod’, not fully revealing their blossom faces, so I had to get down low with my camera to get this image.

Getting images of flowers when they first open is particularly satisfying since they are generally pristine and undamaged by their environment and insects. This one was nearly perfect, with just a dusting of pollen laying on the petal. Finding this single bloom made my entire misty morning hike worth every step and I look forward to what tomorrow has to offer.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm

1/100 sec, f/22, ISO 800

8 Comments on ““Mid-April Wake-Robin”

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