Monday, June 1, 2015


Our Four Species of Trilliums

Painted Trillium Trillium undulatum
New Brunswick has four species of Trilliums.  They are in full bloom now and worth finding in order to enjoy their beauty.  Trilliums are in the Lily Family and are spring flowers growing in woodlands, especially hardwoods.  Their leaves are in a single whorl of 3 and the single flowers are large.  Everything comes in 3s with trilliums; 3 petals, 3 sepals, 3 leaves.

Nodding Trillium Trillium cernuum

Nodding Trillium Trillium cernuum
The Nodding Trillium grows 6-20" high and hides its flower by suspending it under the leaves.  It 'nods' beneath the leaves.  The flower is white with pink anthers.  The petals are curved backward at the tips.  It likes rich deciduous woods and floodplains.  It is also called Birthroot because native people once used the root to assist in childbirth.

Purple Trillium Trillium erectum

The Purple Trillium is probably our most common trillium.  It is found in hardwood forests and grows 6-20" high.  Its beautiful purple colour is good to look at but don't try to smell this one; it has a foul odour.  That explains why it is sometimes called Stinking Benjamin.  

White Trillium Trillium grandiflorum

White Trillium Trillium grandiflorum
The White Trillium is our largest and rarest trillium.  It is the provincial flower of Ontario and occurs here in only one or two known places.  It grows 12-20" high.  Its flower is 2-4" wide and is very showy.  The white flower turns pink with age.  It is easy to distinguish from the Nodding Trillium which also has a white flower because the White Trillium's flower is upright and much larger. It also has yellow stamens, differing from the pink anthers of the Nodding Trillium.  The White Trillium is sometimes called the Large-flowered Trillium.

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