Friday, January 28, 2011
With three leaves and three petals, no wonder this plant is called Trillium. This plant has a special arrangement with ants. The seeds have a fleshy attachment called an elaiosome that is essentially ant food. In exchange for a few calories, the ants plant the seeds. They take the ripe seeds from the ovary, carry them to their nest, eat the elaiosomes, then put the seeds in their garbage pile, where they sprout. As you might suspect, they are difficult to propagate, and they are rarely available for sale.
However, a few are now available at the UC Botanical Garden. A bit spendy, but they are so worth it!