In mid-to-late April trillium flowers bloom all over the place at Shenk’s Ferry Wildflower Preserve in Lancaster County, PA.
When approaching the trail and as you drive on the dirt road look to either side and you’ll likely notice the trillium plants by their huge three leaves. The flowers are usually in a dangling way so that you might only see the side or top view of the mostly white flowers.
Near the beginning of the trail look up the slope to the left and you’ll see lots of bluebells and among them the white trilliums. So many flowers in one spot!
Susquehanna Trillium were especially thick on the upper slope about halfway down the trail.
Their red centers weren’t always visible so I’m left wondering were the all-white ones different varieties? They seemed to have a smaller stature, too.
Dangling head of the trillium flower. Three light green sepals situated in between the curled back petals.
A helping hand shows the red interior of the bloom.
The predominant trillium at Shenk’s Ferry is known as the Susquehanna Trillium, Trillium flexipes, which according to Peterson’s Wildflower Guide is also known as Drooping Trillium.
A distinctive feature are its creamy white anthers which differentiates it from a similar species called Nodding Trillium, T. cernuum, which has pink anthers.
Red trilliums, T. erectum, are rare at this location – at least in their red variety – the smaller all-white one above is probably the white variety, but this one was blooming when this photo was taken, 20 April 2016. A fellow photographer indicated where he saw it so I was on the lookout on my return walk down the trail. It was a happy thing to see the single one blooming – even if it was in the shade!
If you’re interested in learning all about Trilliums, including how to garden with trilliums, the book you want is on Amazon: Trilliums.