“Leaves of three, let them be” is a familiar phrase of warning learned best from advice than experience. Springtime can bring me to my knees in rich woodland soil seeking springtime trifoliate blooms. I am down on my knees, continually humbled by God’s imaginative creations.
Three leaves on the forest floor accompany the Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum) whose spathe, appears as “the pulpit” wrapping around and over a spadix known as Jack. This as many woodland spring blooms is best observed at ground level. This is a plant to let alone, as the saying goes, because the oxalic acid in the leaves is poisonous if ingested; the roots however were used by Native Americans for medicinal purposes.
(Trillium recurvatum) is barely noticeable as its mottled green leaves contrast with the shades of brown on the forest floor. The dark purple flower equally fades into the scene, easily going unnoticed. Both the leaves and the flower petals are in sets of three. In Illinois it is commonly known as Prairie Trillium. Other places it has been called Bloody Butcher; so much for man’s imaginative creativity in naming their discoveries.