While visiting South Carolina earlier this month I discovered my first wildflower of the year. Mottled Trillium is a relict species, meaning there are a few remaining groups of a species that was once more abundant when conditions were different.
Significant habitat loss has occurred through clearing of forests for agricultural and pine farm uses; in 1988 this plant was officially listed as an endangered species. Mottled Trillium grows in undisturbed hardwood forests that sometimes include mature pines and that are free of understory plants such as shrubs and vines.
This is one of the first trillium species in Georgia and South Carolina to appear in the early spring. Prior to blooming, its three mottled leaves that are blue-green, to green to silver in color.
It was totally awesome to not only see my first wildflower of the year, but also one that I have never seen before.