Out in the woods – thrilled about Trillium

Trilix (Latin) = having a triple thread

If nothing else about wildflowers, one image can still thrill anyone  – the white carpeting of the woodland floor when Trillium grandiflorum is flowering; in southern Ontario sometime from late April to May.  Unfortunately, our car committed suicide, so I took this picture close to home in a remnant neighbourhood forest. You’ll just have to imagine this small patch of Trillium multiplied by hundreds, as it happens in the wild wooded areas.

Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium grandiflorum – Large-flowered trillium

Not that the provincial flower of Ontario needs a description; it is all about the number 3: 3-petaled white flowers (rarely pink) with 3 green sepals above a whorl of three leaves. Usually as they age the white flowers turn light pink. Unfortunately, it goes dormant by mid-summer but after the spring display we can forgive this little shortcoming.  Sometimes, individuals with green bands on the petals can be spotted – they look interesting but it’s said to be a result of a phytoplasma infection.

Mixed in with T. grandiflorum is often Trillium erectum – Wake-robin trillium, Stinking Benjamin. It displays stunning dark-red flowers above the foliage – three pointed petals framed by 3 green or reddish green sepals. The scent of the flowers is the source for the common name Stinking Benjamin – they emit odours to attract carrion flies, which are their main pollinators.


5 replies
  1. Amy Olmsted
    Amy Olmsted says:

    They are in full bloom here too! We’ve got areas nearby that are huge and covered with them. the T. erectum never seem to spread to such proportions.

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      The same about T. erectum; a few of them, here and there, I wonder why the difference…

    • diversifolius
      diversifolius says:

      Seems that you had a preview just at the right time! I only have a T. luteum, not flowering size but the mottled leave are beautiful by themselves.

Comments are closed.