Monday, February 27, 2012

This weekend we went to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Elkmont, Tennessee is one of the last places where families were allowed lease the buildings there and to remain after the Smokys were made into a park. The last of these leases expired in 2001. The park service began restoring the old buildings that were determined to be of historic value in 2010. Others are to be torn down.
New parking areas and other buildings are being constructed to accommodate the trail system and campground that are already in place.
We walked at near dusk along the Little River Trail, looking for river otters. But, didn't find any. I did find these trilliums along the trail. It will be interesting to go back soon and find them blooming.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Time Out

Ok, had to take a time out. Started to go to Providence Canyon in south Georgia but, got rained out. Wound up in Highlands Hammock, Florida. (Photo Above)

Went back to Providence Canyon once the rain stopped. I will be posting more later. But, this weekend I have company coming and will be busy for a few days as I have been since my return. Keep the faith. I will be back!

In the mean time here is a photo of a trillium just budding out down in the canyon at Providence Canyon State Park in southwest Georgia. And below is the one of the first photos I took of the canyon.

We hiked down in the canyon and I was not that impressed. It wasn't until we reached the top that I found more spectacular views of the canyon. Now, I would like to go back once the wildflowers bloom and that is a good thing. Not sure I will make it down this year - but, maybe!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Here is another "What Trillium is this?" photo. I will post the answer later.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valley of the Giants

As I write this blog, I realize there are those who would like to poach these wildflowers by digging them or picking the flowers. Picking a trillium wildflower will likely kill the plant. So, both digging and picking trillium will soon destroy the wildflower's habitat. In this blog, I plan on not giving too much information on where my photos are taken unless these flowers are in a well known place like a federal or state park or otherwise protected habitat,  The less protected habitats will be listed only as a secret place, perhaps giving only the county or state for location information.

As it ages, the Large Flower Trillium Trillium grandiflorum flower may change to a bluish violet as this one has. My photo here was shot in a secret place in Rabun County, Georgia.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

This is a test.

What trillium is this? Ok, I'm not a botanist. But, after some research I feel fairly confident this a Vasey's Trillium Trillium vaseyi It is commonly called a Sweet Wakerobin, Sweet Beth and/or Sweet Trillium. The flower is pedicel and nods below the whorl of three leaves. The flowers are easy to overlook because they hide below the whorl.

You can find more information and photos of Vasey's Trillium at this website: 
And if you really want to know the details check this one:

Monday, February 13, 2012

2012 First Trillium

Here is the first trillium I have found in 2012. Trilliums are divided into two groups, pedicellate and sissile trilliums. The pedicellate trillium has a pedicel (or stalk) above the whorl of three leaves. The sissile trillium has no pedical. The bud of a flower shown to the right is growing without a pedical making the trillium a member of the sissile group of trilliums.

At this point I am not sure what trillium this is. This is a learn as you go blog.

Relict Trillium trillium reliquum is one of the earliest to bloom in Georgia according to the Gulf South Research Corporation
Maybe it is a Confederate Wakerobin;

It would be interesting to go back in a week or two and check what color the flower is and how it has changed. Maybe it would be easier to identify.

Follow my blog, more to come!

I found this Trillium along the trail and just below Amicalola Falls at Amicalola State Park, Georgia.

Here is a site of a friend of mine, Terry Guthrie. Terry is a photographer and likes to photograph nature. You will find Trillium photos here, as well as, other wildflowers.!i=552044155&k=ou3Sy

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Parts of a Trillium Wildflower

If you do a Google search for Trillium you are likely to come up with all kinds of business websites that incorporate the word Trillium in the website or business name; everything from Trillium real estate to Trillium software to Trillium fiberfuels. Is that last one firewood? Perhaps they name themselves Trillium something to take advantage of the flowers beauty or maybe the company was started by three people or maybe they had three sticks of firewood to sell.

One might ask, just what is a Trillium? Literally, a Trillium is a tri-flower because of most of its parts grow in threes or multiples of three. It is a plant of the Lily family that springs from a rhizome. A rhizome is a ball of roots or a spike root. Each year the rhizome grows a single scrape. A scrape is leafless flowering stem or spike. The above ground parts of the Trillium that grow from the scrape consist of a whorl of three leaves and a tri-flower. The tri-flower has three bracts. A bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure. Trillium tri-flowers have three petals, three sepals and a multiple of three stamens.

For more detail check the link below.

These sites have great photographs of Trillium wildflowers.

Note: For some reason these don't link automatically. You can copy and paste them into your browser address bar to get them to work. I will see if I can fix the link later today.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Sweet White Trillium

Sweet White Trillium Trillium Simile
Here is a Trillium I don't think I have a photo of but, you can find a video here:

This Trillium only grows in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee. I hope to find one or more to photograph in my travels in the spring. In the mean time watch the video. It has a good amount of information.

Database of Nature Subjects

Large Flower Trillium Trillium Grandiflorum
This is great searchable site to find all sorts of plant life information.

Just click on it to see a Trillium Grandiflorum report. And then, you can search for other nature things.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Catesby's Trillium

Catesby's Trillium Trillium catesbaei named for Mark Catesby (1862-1749). Catesby was born in Eastern England in the town of Essex. During the first half of the 1700's he traveled much of Eastern North America. Influeanced by a his friend, naturalist John Ray, he studied natural history in London in 1712. Eventually moving to America he began traveling and collecting seeds and botanical specimens. Between 1731 and 1743 Catesby created the first published account of the plants and animals of North America, Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Catesby made the colored, drawings and etchings of plants for this publication, himself.

Catesby's Trillium is found only in the Southern states of Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina and North Carolina. I have found them on the Short Line Trail in Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia and along the Little River Road in the Smoky Mountains National Park. Generally they can be found in many mountain areas of the Southern Appalachian Mountains.

Like other trilliums the Catesby's has just about three of everything. You will notice the flower below the leaves. It's flower petals curl under themselves and have wavy edges. This differs it from the Large Flower Trillium which has the flower above the leaves, the petals have smoother edges. And, the Large Flower Trillium's flower rises above the leaves. The Catesby's Trillium flower is white turning pink with age. The Large Flower Trillium turns pink with age also but, I don't think it is so pronounced

As I study I learn. According to the USDA based on recent genetic research trillium species now belong to the family Trilliaceae. Check out the web site to learn more. In the mean time I will continue the research on families of Trilliums and hopefully bring more information to light. Here again, I think it may be differing botanist and there is an ongoing argument on this subject.

This blog and photos in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Richard Edwin Hyatt.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Trillium is a Lily

Trilliums are members of the Lili Family. Figured I would get this out of the way because at this point it is not all that interesting to me. I am sure it will be later. Consider the Persistent Trillium.
Here is how the USDA presents the classification of the Persistent Trillium, as well as, others in the plant kingdom.

Persistent Wakerobin - Trillium persistens


 – Plants
SubkingdomTracheobionta – Vascular plants
SuperdivisionSpermatophyta – Seed plants
DivisionMagnoliophyta – Flowering plants
ClassLiliopsida – Monocotyledons
FamilyLiliaceae – Lily family
GenusTrillium L. – trillium
SpeciesTrillium persistens Duncan – persistent wakerobin

Classification Source:

Now you know, a Trillium is a Lily. And, you can find it at Tallulah Gorge, Rabun County, USA.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Large Flower Trillium

Large Flower Trillium
Trillium grandiflorum, aka, white trilliumgreat white trilliumwhite wake-robin, grows from Alabama and Georgia in the eastern US to Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia in Canada. It is quite abundant in here in North Georgia, South Carolina and Western North Carolina. I photographed this trillium at the Shirley Miller Wildflower Train in North West Georgia. One thing I noticed about this picture is that the Antlers are nearly white. I am not sure if that is because I used a strobe to shoot the picture or if it is a normal color. Usually the antlers are yellow in most photos I have seen. 

I generally try to use existing light when shooting pictures. When photographing trillium and shade loving wildflowers they are often found in the dark area of the woods making lighting adjustment necessary to get the shot in a good light. Here, I used the strobe in on my camera. I can tell by the shadows under the leaves. I think this one worked pretty good. Still, those shadows can be a problem in some photos. Using the strobe allowed me to shoot at ISO 100, f5.6, and at 125th of a second. Because I used the strobe I was able to hand hold the camera. It is likely (can't remember for sure) this flower was in a location where I could not use a tripod so, the shot needed to be hand held. 

In the event a strobe does not give the desired photo you can up the ISO (film or digital capture speed), use a wider aperture (f stop) or extend the time the lens is open (shutter speed). You can bring along a flexible reflector in order to put light from the sun on the photo which even gives a different affect. Using a combination of any of these, as well as, your editing software can improve lighting dramatically. 

These camera and accessory setting can help greatly if there is a slight breeze or if it is quite windy. Faster ISO, shutter speed and strobe lighting all can greatly reduce the movement in your photo.

Camera movement also can, and will, cause blurring of your photo so, it is always best to use a tripod when filming wildflowers. For sure, in sensitive wildflower beds, the subject may be too far away from the camera, to use a tripod. In which case you may use a telephoto lens with your tripod to reduce camera movement. 

I hope these tips are helpful in all your wildflower photography. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

More Yellow Trillium

I was afraid I was getting off message a bit so, I have added another photo with Yellow Trilliums from the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Greenbrier north of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This is a great place to go swimming and hiking in the spring and summer. And, there are lots of Yellow Trillium nearly everywhere. There are many other wildflowers to be found here, too. Later in the summer be careful of the Poison Ivy, though. I have to be careful anytime but, summer it is thick in some places.

Faux Trillium

So, the trillium are not blooming yet. Still, I want to get out and take some pictures. What is blooming are daffodils. I used my Nikon D80 with a 55 - 200 mm lens to illustrate it that a telephoto lens can be used effectively to photograph wildflowers like trillium. I set the lens at f4.5, 1/200 of a second and used an ISO of 400. It was rainy and wet so, the light was not that bright. I needed a fast shutter speed to keep the wind from blurring the photo. And, a wide open lens to blur the background. The high ISO and the wide open lens also allowed for enough light to make a good photo. In addition to keeping the flowers from showing movement in the wind the high shutter speed kept the camera shake down enough to hand hold the camera. That is, it was wet and I did not feel like using a tripod and getting the camera, and me, all wet. Remember the best camera is the one you have. This is the best one I have for photographing faux trillium. Here are a few tips for your wildflower photography.

1. Practice before it is time to go it is time to do your photo shoot. It helps to know what you are doing before you get to the real thing. 
2. A wide open aperture (lens opening) allows for blurring the background and foreground and lets more light into the camera. 
3. A higher ISO shortens the time the lens shutter must be open to let in sufficient light on overcast days or in the shade. 
4. A fast shutter speed reduces camera shake and reduces the effect of movement of the subject being photographed. 
5. If you can go out early to shoot before the wind picks up.
Photographers say, "The best camera is the one you have." I'll expand on this thought later. Get out there and take some pictures, now today, with the camera you have! Want to shoot pictures of trillium when there aren't any trillium blooming. Just get out and photograph whatever you can that will be similar to a trillium. That way when they are blooming you will know how to shoot them! This is a good rainy day to shoot Daffodils. Think I will try that myself. Don't forget your tripod.  Don't want to get out in the rain? That's just silly.

You could always edit the photos you have, like I have on last years fall leaves. It is a good learning tool. What is the best editor? Hee, he, he, the one you have! Don't have one? Google one for free! Just go to and enter "photo editor free" into the search box and viola a whole slew of them will pop, yours for the taking.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mountain Nature & Wild Bird Supply

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Life beginnings of the Trillium erectum
Aka: Wake-robin, Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Beth Root or Stinking Benjamin
Trillium erectum is sometimes called a “Stinking Benjamin” for good reason, well, it stinks. It's smell is that of rotting flesh! But, this stink of rotting flesh has a purpose. You see, the life of a Trillium begins with the pollination within its parent flower. We all know that bees pollinate flowers to complete the reproduction process. We have all have heard the story of the “birds and the bees”. Well, if you haven’t you must be very young. In the case of the Trillium erectum it is a different story; it is pollinated by flies. So, it is to the Stinking Benjamin’s smell that attracts the flies that in turn pollinate this trillium’s “flower”.
But wait, there is more! Other creatures are required to continue the life cycle of Trilliums and these busy creatures are ants! Once the flower is pollinated the trillium produces seeds. These seeds have an oil bearing fruit covering called an elaisome. The elasisome parts attract ants. The ants pick the seeds, take them home and feed the elasisome parts to their larvae. What remains are the seeds that are covered with waste the ants have produced in the process. This mixture of waste and seed is buried by the ants and it makes a fine bed for the seeds to germinate. This is the first part of the life cycle of the Stinking Benjamin.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

White Erect Trillium

Quiet Walkways in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, often overlooked by the traveling motorist, hold some of the Smoky's best kept secrets. They are generally unmarked except for a small sign proclaiming "Quiet Walkway" with a note that follows indicating the joys of quiet walkways. On the right is shown a clump of White Erect Trillium found on what we call the "Peachtree" quiet walkway. I believe this is part of the Indian Gap Road which is runs right up to New Found Gap these days. It didn't historically go by the present New Found Gap but, ran west of it over what was called Indian Gap. More research will need to be done on my part to confirm that. Whatever,  it is an easy wildflower walk in the spring.

I once asked at the Oconaluftee Visitors Center where I could find Trillium. The answer, "Everywhere". It was likely the best answer at the time. I have found many trails that lead to Trillium beds. But Trillium wildflowers are not the only ones. The "Peachtree" quiet walkway has an abundant show of Fringed Phacilia. This tiny flower   is often overlooked except to be seen as the beds as shown on the picture below. However a close up view will with your eyes is very worthy of your hiking endeavor.