I love trillium in spring as many wildflower enthusiasts do. Over the last few years I've learned of the several species found in Ohio, some more common than others. In Ohio Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum) is rare. I had never seen it although I understand it is quite common just east of Ohio. So when I got a tip that a small population of Painted Trillium exists in Ashtabula County on property managed by The Nature Conservancy I got excited.
My Painted Trillium Quest
By Tom Fishburn, June 3, 2020
I love trillium in spring as many wildflower enthusiasts do. Over the last few years I've learned of the several species found in Ohio, some more common than others. In Ohio Painted Trillium (Trillium undulatum) is rare. I had never seen it although I understand it is quite common just east of Ohio. So when I got a tip that a small population of Painted Trillium exists in Ashtabula County on property managed by The Nature Conservancy I got excited. Painted Trillium blooms later than the other trillium species. And when I contacted one of the managers at the Morgan Swamp Preserve I was told they were not yet in bloom.
The manager explained there were only small numbers of healthy blooming plants only five years ago. Understanding its endangered status in Ohio, The Nature Conservancy at Morgan Swamp Preserve sought to protect and has worked to restore this attractive species. A high fence was built around the struggling plants to keep deer away. In the following years the numbers of healthy and blooming plants increased. This year is the fourth year since and in mid-May when staff went to explore the site and do some maintenance work they counted some 60 healthy plants! This population exists off the public trails and requires permission and specific instructions to visit, along with cautions about hiking through the unmarked woods and swamp. (As a side note adding to this wonderful adventure I did get disoriented on the way back which cost me an extra hour of hiking time.)
I waited for a good weather day and made the trip on May 21st to Morgan Swamp about 65 miles east of home. After a 1-1/2 or so mile hike, half of which was off-trail, I arrived at the secluded location. My first surprise was how large the fenced-in area was. I was also surprised how small the flowers were. Staff had marked the plants with flags in order to provide an accurate count. I spent two hours checking the different stages of growth and poses the plants presented. Not all were yet in bloom. As the sun shifted position I admired and photographed several of them. I looked for shadows cast on leaves. Some plants had their petals fully extended while others were curled. What a thrill to see these for the first time!
Make A Donation to Western Cuyahoga Audubon. Your gifts guarantee chapter activities, programs and research continues to reach members and connect birding conservationists around the world. Use our safe and secure PayPal payment button below to make a donation of any amount you choose. All donations are gratefully received.
The Feathered Flyer blog publishes human interest stories about birding and habitat conservation.
After watching, ‘My Painted Trillium Quest' by Tom Fishburn, Kim Langley, WCAS Member said, “Wonderful! It was a lift just knowing that such a site exists and is being protected!”
Visit the Western Cuyahoga Audubon Virtual Conference Center for a listing of chapter events. Download the Free Desktop & Mobile Apps-Version 2. Use the desktop icon or mobile app (see above) to enter a meeting.
Support Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society when you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon donates.
WCAS is a proud member of The Council of Ohio Audubon Chapters (COAC) and promotes chapter development by sharing the best practices, brainstorming solutions to common problems, and building relationships in workshops and retreats. Subscribe
Bird Walk Reports
Christmas Bird Count-Lakewood Circle
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society
4310 Bush Avenue
Cleveland, Ohio 44109
Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is tax-deductible. The tax ID number is: 34-1522665. If you prefer to mail your donation, please send your check to: Nancy Howell, Western Cuyahoga Audubon Treasurer, 19340 Fowles Rd, Middleburg Hts, OH 44130. © 2020 Western Cuyahoga Audubon Society. All rights reserved.
Digital Services: Betsey O'Hagan