|Bloodroot seeds with elaisomes|
Our region is especially rich in these species of myrmecochorous plants, with approximately 30% of our spring wildflowers having evolved this way. This occurs in over 90 species in 25 families in the DC area, although not all of them are native. A partial list of plants includes: Trilliums, Hepaticas, Spring Beauties, Woodrushes, Troutlilies, Corydalis, Dutchman's Breeches, Squirrel Corn, Wild Bleeding Hearts, Twinleaf, Rue Anemone, Wild Licorice, Trailing Arbutus, Bloodroot, Wild Ginger, Greater Celandine, most Violets, Pansies, Speedwells, Snowdrops, Daffodils, Grape Hyacinths, Star-of-Bethlehem, Ground Ivy, Henbit, Deadnettle, some Iris, Sedges, Spurges, Bellworts, perhaps Bluebells (though I think they're really water dispersed) , and unfortunately some invasive Thistles and Knapweeds.
So the next time you see some ants at your picnic or while out hiking, remember that they may be the reason you get to enjoy the spring wildflowers as well.
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