Trillium, also known as wake robin or trinity flower, is a perennial flowering plant native to temperate regions of North America and Asia. The plant will bloom from April-June. Flowers can be white, pink, yellow or purple.
The genus name refers to the fact nearly all parts of the plant comes in threes. It has 3 broad leaves on each stalk, 3 small green sepals and 3 large white sepals (petal-like structures) surrounding a group of yellow stamens. It also has three-sectioned seedpods. When the flowers mature, they will produce red, brown or purple berries.
It is not a commonly cultivated plant because it only thrives in a particular environment: woodland areas with leafy shade above and leaf mold below. As well, they do not transplant well from the wild. Trillium are grown from rhizomes, bulb-like seed pods. It needs well-drained, humus-rich soil. The best time to plant is from late summer to early fall. Divide mature clumps in the fall and replant as soon as possible.
Climate Zones: 3-9
Fun Facts about Trillium
- The name wake robin comes from the fact that there are some trilliums that will bloom early in the spring, even before robins return to their nests.
- Trillium is the official provincial flower of Ontario.
- The large white trillium is the official wildflower of Ohio.
- Trillium is pollinated by ants.
- If the flowers and leaves are picked, the plant can die, as it won’t have enough energy to survive through the winter.
- Some species are listed as threatened or endangered.
- In some places, such as Michigan, Minnesota and New York, removing trillium from the wild is considered illegal.
- Native American Indians used the roots for medicinal purposes and they also ate the leaves as vegetables.
- Trillium is a favourite food for white-tailed deer.
- In folklore, trillium symbolizes modest beauty.