Sunday, April 22, 2012

Red Trillium

Wake-robin, red trillium,
stinking Benjamin: a three-faced flower.
It lives by subterfuge.
Its stem is really a scape,
its leaves are really bracts,
sessile, glabrous, cuneate
or attenuate at the base,
broadly ovate, with margins
entire & acuminate apex.
The rank-smelling, self-
compatible flowers alternate
petals with sepals, three of each,
& six stamens ring the single,
three-part pistil.
To us they are wake-robins,
flushed with good cheer,
but they tempt frustrated
Calliphorid flies with the scent
of a blood-red corpse,
& get pollinated for nothing.
Later they will lure ants
with an edible bait, the elaiosome:
a fleshy appendage to the seed,
itself inedible — designed
to be discarded in the colony’s
rich compost, & there take root.
So many masks!
Will the real Trillium erectum
please stand up?

2 comments:

Keira said...

It’s actually a nice and useful piece of post. I am glad that you simply shared with us. Thanks!

Gimmer said...

I think I have it figured out now how to get it to post as a poem in lines but it has strange highlights around each line I am not crazy about. Oh well at least I am not locked out. I just edited the post, Keira.

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