Thursday, May 6, 2010

Trillium - starting to turn colour

The spring show is truly extraordinary this year! The Calypso bulbosa orchids are out in force -- I can't recall when I've seen so many healthy plants. But this year the Trillium ovatum (Western Trillium) are catching my eye. They are also out in profusion. And, during this time of the year -- late spring (at least late for us lucky folks that live on southern Vancouver Island) -- the trilliums start to turn purple with age. Sometimes I can catch them just starting to turn -- like I have this image.

Another favourite at this time of year is the Fritillaria affinis (Chocolate Lily). I am always astounded by the detail and texture on the petals of this plant. I know it is to attract pollinators -- and I think bees pay the most booty-calls to F. affinis! I'm not sure about this -- but in spending time amongst the lilies, I think I have seen more bees in the flowers then anything else.

Bees don't see colour the way we do. They don't see the colours in the red part of the spectrum, but they do see into the ultraviolet. I bet the dark chocolate-coloured patches on the flower absorb UV. I don't have a uv filter, but I'm going to get one to take flower pics --if the chocolate coloured portion of the flower does absorb UV light, then the petals of the lily must look like a huge, high-contrast checkerboard.

The bright yellow flowers of Sedum spathulifolium (Stonecrop) are just starting to show. I love the texture of these plants -- they look plump and lush.
Sedum spathulifolium
Sedum spathulifolium
Originally uploaded by Calypso Orchid

Lots more colour coming to hillsides up and down Vancouver Island -- the season is just getting into full swing. Take some time to "get out and smell (or at least look at) the flowers".