Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Trailblazer Tuesdays

­čî┐Trailblazer Tuesdays­čî┐  

Good morning everyone! Its Sabrina back again at the museum for the summer. Trailblazing Tuesdays are all about how West Elgin is home to a unique range of species and landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. And how its up to us to ensure that these legacies are preserved and appreciated for years to come. This weeks blog is all about the trillium, Ontario’s provincial flower. These beautiful flowers are abundant all over John. E Pearce provincial park and along Spicer trail! Most people know of the White Trillium, also referred to as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium and because it’s Ontario’s flower; this is the flower featured on many of our provincial documents, from health cards to driver’s licenses to road signs.

Trilliums' most striking characteristic is the single three-petaled flower perched above three leaves. The flowers vary by species and can be white, deep red, pink, yellow or green. Trilliums also vary in size but most plants reach from about 8 to 18 inches tall. The leaves are usually bright to dark green. Contrary to popular belief it is not illegal to pick White Trilliums in Ontario. However, if the leaves as well as the flower are picked, the plant could die as it no longer has any means to produce the energy it needs to take it through the winter into another spring.

Due to the popularity of Trilliums as a garden specimen, conservation concerns have been raised as the vast majority of plants sold in commercial nurseries are believed to be collected from the wild.  And because of the heavy collecting, combined with other pressures such as habitat destruction and grazing, may effectively endanger the plants in some areas.The greatest threats to Trilliums are habitat loss and degradation caused by urban development or habitat alteration and damage due to recreational activities, such as hiking and ATV use.
White-tailed deer also eat Trilliums, which is a problem in areas where there are large deer populations. Invasive species, such as Garlic Mustard, also threaten this species as well.

Trillium grandiflorum the beautiful white trillium is legally listed as vulnerable in Quebec, primarily due to habitat destruction as the plant is found in forests neighbouring the province's most populous regions. The drooping trillium is listed as endangered in Ontario as well and can be found in our area of the park and other Provincial Parks in Ontario such as the Pinery, and Rondeau.

Next time you are out in nature and you see these beautiful flowers don’t pick them for your garden, take a picture, save the moment in your memories, and leave the flowers for others to see. How can you be a trailblazer of conservation and help to foster an appreciation of nature in your community?

Thanks for reading!
Sabrina Merks

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