Trillium in spring

Title Info
Common name Trillium, Red
Scientific name Trillium erectum
Taxonomic group Liliaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Temperate deciduous forest
Ecological interactions Competition
Organisms Plants
Lessons Competition
Date April 27, 2003
Location Newton,Massachusetts,USA,North America

Trillium, a spring ephemeral, blooming early in spring, Massachusetts. Plants compete fiercely for light; trees put a great deal of energy into building trunks and branches in large part to get above their neighbors and receive more light. Herbs such as the trillium flowering in this image cannot compete effectively for light once trees have leafed out, nor can they flourish under the low-light conditions of the forest floor. Instead, such spring ephemerals leaf out and bloom much earlier than the trees above them so that they can receive the spring sunshine with little competition. By the time the trees have leafed out and the canopy above has closed, the ephemerals have completed most of their annual growth and reproduction.