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Stinking Willie Trillium erectum

Phonetic Spelling
TRIL-ee-um ee-RECK-tum
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Red Trillium is a perennial wildflower native to North America and is found in the mountains of NC. It tends to occur in drier habitats and is typically found on acid soils, in open dry or rich mesic woods, within laurel and rhododendron thickets at mid to high elevations.

The 3-petaled flower is often red to maroon with yellow anthers but can also be white, pink or yellow. It occurs on a recurved stem above the large green bracts that can be up to 7 inches long. 

Plant in moist, acidic, humus-rich sand, clay, or loam soil with part sun to shade (sun in early spring). Suitable for wooded or naturalized areas. It is very cold hardy but is sensitive to heat.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems.  Slugs and snails are occasional pests and leaf spot, rust and smut are occasional disease problems. It does not transplant well.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
var. album
Tags:
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Cultivars / Varieties:
var. album
Tags:
#spring flowers#showy fruits#heavy shade tolerant#food source wildlife#dappled shade#food source summer#maroon#NC Native Pollinator Plant#food source nectar#Piedmont Mountains FACU#slopes#woodland garden#early summer flowers#red fruits#acidic soils tolerant#dappled sunlight#small flowers#wildflower garden#forests#rich soils#summer flowers#forb#late spring flowers#shade garden#fruits summer#food source pollen#red flowers#cutting garden#perennial flowers#poisonous fruits#food source flowers#moth larvae#green flowers#banks#herbaceous#piedmont#Coastal FAC#yellow flowers#mid-summer flowers#NC native#herbaceous perennials#mid-spring flowers#fruits#early spring flowers#pollinator plant#food source soft mast fruit#food source herbage#native wildflower#perennials#burgundy#small plant#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#Audubon#loamy soils tolerant#small mammals#small and large mammals#white flowers#poisonous#sandy soils tolerant#spring interest#moths#malodorous#fruits mid-summer#native perennials#shade flowers#mountains#clay soils tolerant#maroon flowers#larval host plant#native garden#HS302#wildlife plant#showy flowers#moist soil#partial sun tolerant#summer interest#pollen plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Trillium
    Species:
    erectum
    Family:
    Melanthiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The plant has been used in herbal medicine. e American groups used the root of Purple Trillium as an aid to childbirth.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America
    Distribution:
    Manitoba, Canada east to Nova Scotia, south to Georgia and Alabama, and north to Illinois and Michigan.
    Wildlife Value:
    Bees and other pollinating insects enjoy the nectar from the flowers. Moths use this plant as a larval host. Small mammals enjoy the berries as a food source.
    Edibility:
    EDIBLE PARTS: Young, unfolding leaves HARVEST TIME: Only collect leaves from areas you know have NOT been treated with pesticides. SAFE HANDLING PROCEDURES: Wash leaves in warm water to remove dirt and debris. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. These products can leave a residue. Cook in boiling, salted water for ten minutes and serve like greens. SOURCE: Crowhurst, A. 1972. The Weed Cookbook. Lancer Books, Inc. New York, 190 pp.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 8 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    6 parted berry-like capsule with seeds that are dispersed by ants. In North Carolina, fruits are available from July to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    2.5 inch 3 petaled flowers on a recurving stem with a fetid odor. May take up to 15 years before a flower is produced from seed. Flowers are often maroon with yellow anthers but can also be pink, greenish-yellow, purple. In North Carolina, flowers are available from April to June.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Rhomboidal
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Undulate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Broadly oval to almost diamond-shaped leaves that are actually bracts. They are stalkless to nearly stalkless and whorled on the stem. Up to 7 inches wide with margins that may curl inward
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Green to reddish stem is unbranched, round and smooth
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Design Feature:
    Mass Planting
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Moths
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Problems:
    Malodorous
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Unknown
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Roots