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.