Myrmecochory

2007 February 16
by David J. Ringer

DUNCANVILLE, TEXAS — This morning was cold: 14 degrees, in fact. But spring is on the way!

One hardy native herb has begun to bloom, cold or no cold. My English friend Brian Hodgkin has been anticipating the arrival of white trout lilies (Erythronium albidum) for months, and he found them yesterday at Cedar Ridge Preserve, thanks in part to a tip from Jim Varnum.

Today, I joined Brian, Val, Deb, and June for an expedition to see the lilies. Can warblers be far behind?

trout-lily-erythronium-albidum

Only a few inches high, these beauties can be hard to spot among the oak leaves. They may look demure, but they have some pretty amazing tricks up their metaphorical sleeves. Trout lilies, I learned, actually trick ants into dispersing their seeds. It’s called myrmecochory.

brian

Brian snaps a lily’s picture. Brian feels about plants the way I do about birds, and we argue about whose interest is more worthy. I have a feeling you’ll be hearing more of our adventures in the weeks to come.

Related posts:

  1. Orchids and thunderstorms
  2. Shrubs and a feather
  3. Hexalectris grandiflora and other orchids
  4. Happy first day of spring!
  5. Red eyes and orange crowns

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