Trillium Species One

Trillium G-R - Trillium S-Z - Trillium index


Trillium species A through F are found on this page.


Trillium albidum A western species, 20-50 cm tall, with leaves 10-20 cm long. These plants require a moist soil; with this requirement met, they can be found in various sites from mixed woods to open pasture, even to roadside ditches. They often have multiple stems, making them quite showy. Photos 1-3 by Dave Brastow. Photos 4-5 were taken by Craig Tooley on the Mendocino Sonoma Coast.

Trillium albidum, looking down on multiple stems, Dave BrastowTrillium albidum, a profile, showing dark lower stem, Dave BrastowTrillium albidum, a close-up, showing the yellow anthers, Dave BrastowTrillium albidum, Sonoma Coast, Craig TooleyTrillium albidum, Sonoma Coast, Craig Tooley

Trillium catesbaei grows widely in northern Georgia and north western parts of the Carolinas. The leaves appear distinctly petiolate and are plain green and unmarked, as is the case for all of the eastern pedicellate species. The flower can be held above (rarely) or below the leaves and is quite variable in size. The petals can be white or pink, and any shade in between, and some forms have superb deep rose pink petals which are strongly reflexed and perfectly compliment the prominent yellow stamens. The pedicellate species generally flower a month or so later than the sessiles and T. catesbaei is at its best from early April to June, depending upon location. Photo by John Lonsdale.

Trillium catesbaei, John Lonsdale

Trillium chloropetalum is native to California where it grows in shady woods and thickets. It has large erect flowers which can be white, white-green, or various shades of red-purple that rest on top of the 3 large oval mottled leaves without a flowering stem; one common name is "giant trillium". Plant in deep rich soil in a shady spot or one with filtered sun. This species will tolerate water all year long, but does not require summer water. Seed is best planted as soon as it is ripe and kept moist until it germinates. Patience is required as it may take 5 to 7 years before plants reach flowering size. Photo #1 from Bill Dijk. Photos 2-3 from Ernie O'Byrne including a photo of the cultivar 'Volcano', a taller plant with a dark red flower.

Trillium chloropetalum, Bill DijkTrillium chloropetalum, Ernie O'ByrneTrillium chloropetalum 'Volcano', Ernie O'Byrne

Trillium cuneatum grows over a vast area and is easily the largest of any eastern sessile trillium. Growing mainly in upland slopes and woods, it could be described as coarse when compared with the smaller species but it is particularly spectacular when seen en masse. Very many different forms occur over this range and these can be confused in cultivation with other species. Petal color varies from yellow through green to brown and deep maroon; leaves can be pure silver, green or strongly mottled. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Trillium cuneatum, John LonsdaleTrillium cuneatum, John Lonsdale

Trillium decipiens J.D. Freeman, commonly called the Chattahoochee River wakerobin, occurs mostly near the Chattahoochee River in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. It has three mottled leaves and purple, brown or green (rarely yellow) stemless flowers. Photo by John Lonsdale.

Trillium decipiens, John Lonsdale

Trillium decumbens Probably my favorite sessile trillium, T. decumbens lies flat on the forest floor and possesses a character all of its own. It is found in northern Alabama and northeastern Georgia. The open flowers are a glossy red-maroon and the petals are attractively twisted at the tips. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Trillium decumbens, John LonsdaleTrillium decumbens, John Lonsdale

Trillium discolor Another favorite, this time hailing from the upper drainage of the Savannah River on the border between S. Carolina and Georgia. In comparison with the other yellow sessile trillium, T. luteum, this is a truly refined species and quite distinct. The petals of T. discolor are a soft creamy yellow and upon seeing large colonies of them, the effect is one of seeing thousands of candles. The petal shape is unique in that they are quite spatulate, much broader at the tip than the base, and the stamens are purple. They can be delightfully but not strongly fragrant of lemons and particularly nice forms may have strong red flares extending up from the base of the petals. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Trillium discolor, John LonsdaleTrillium discolor, John LonsdaleTrillium discolor, John Lonsdale

Trillium erectum can be anything from 8 – 24” tall, with flowers, flat and wide-spreading in profile, of white, red, maroon, yellow-green or red-brown, the petals frequently tending to be lanceolate in shape. The flowers can be erect, straight out sideways or declining. Leaves are plain green. Photos by John Lonsdale.

Trillium erectum, John LonsdaleTrillium erectum, John Lonsdale

Trillium flexipes is usually 15 – 18” tall, traditionally white flowered with broader petals on erect flowers, although red forms have been described, as have forms with declining flowers. The ovary can vary from white through cream to pink-purple. Photo by John Lonsdale.

Trillium flexipes, John Lonsdale

Trillium aff. flexipes 'Susquehanna' Photo by John Lonsdale.

Trillium aff. flexipes 'Susquehanna', John Lonsdale

Trillium foetidissimum is found in Louisiana, in rich ancient woods east of the Mississippi River. It is relatively invariant in flower and leaf, although as is the case with many red-maroon flowered sessile species, pure yellow forms can very occasionally be found. Similarly, forms also can be rarely found with all-over silver leaves. With dark red-maroon flowers, it has strongly mottled leaves, in flavors of green and bronze. It is true to name, the flowers emitting a fetid odor which is especially noticeable on warm still days. The first two photos are by John Lonsdale, the next two are by Nhu Nguyen taken in situ showing a yellow form mixed with the more common maroon form.

Trillium foetidissimum, John LonsdaleTrillium foetidissimum, John LonsdaleTrillium foetidissimum, mixed population, Nhu NguyenTrillium foetidissimum, yellow form, Nhu Nguyen

Trillium G-R - Trillium S-Z - Trillium index


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Page last modified on March 11, 2016, at 11:21 AM