OK, so maybe a four-petaled trillium isn't so rare after all. After reading last Saturday about an attempt to find one on Carney's Hill in Unity, Westmoreland County, Dana and Dave Metzgar found a great white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) in their yard in Murrysville. Here's how he described it:
"As my wife and I were starting a walk with our dogs on our property this evening, she noticed that a few trillium were blooming and asked if I'd read the article in today's paper. I had been pulling out invasive plants in the area and knew that the trilliums were there but hadn't looked close. She said, "That one right there has four leaves." I doubted her until I got up close -- four flower petals and four leaves, 30 feet from my front door."
Around the same time, John Doyle, a naturalist with Allegheny County Parks, was looking over a four-petaled, four-leaved red trillium (T. erectum) in Settler's Cabin Park. In their book "Trilliums," authors Frederick W. Case Jr. and Roberta B. Case make this comment about great white trillium: "Occasional 2-4 leaved anomalous forms appear." Apparently God plays more pranks than I thought.