9 March 2023
On Monday 6 March 2023, Fran Bungert sent me an email to say that she saw snow trillium blooming at Cedar Creek Park the day before. She added that 5 March is the earliest she’s ever seen it bloom.
In my experience snow trillium (Trillium nivale) is usually the earliest spring ephemeral in southwestern Pennsylvania, traditionally blooming in late March or early April. The flowers persist for about four weeks so my observations circled below are not necessarily first bloom date. Nonetheless Fran’s 5 March observation in red is the earliest ever!
Inspired to see the flowers I visited Cedar Creek on Tuesday afternoon. There I found evidence of flash floods that cut the creek bank and brown habitat compared to what I see in April.
Snow trillium dotted the hillside but blended into the fallen leaves because the white flowers looked like splashes of sunshine. How many flowers do you see in this photo?
The flowers were at various stages from barely to fully open, at top.
I found harbinger of spring (Erigenia bulbosa) leaves but no flowers.
As of 7 March only the snow trillium was blooming at Cedar Creek.
(photos by Kate St. John)
p.s. For my own notes, here’s a list of blogs that indicate when I saw snow trillium: