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Trillium

Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Trillium spp.
Phonetic Spelling
TRIL-ee-um
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Trilliums are a native North American wildflower in the lily family of which there are 38 species. In NC they are found in the mountains with a few in the coastal and Piedmont areas. The flowers all have 3 petals and 3 sepals of various colors and the leaves are often mottled.

Strictly speaking, trilliums have no above-ground stems or leaves. The stem is an extension of the underground rhizome and the leaves are the bracts of the flower. The flowers can be held above the bracts or be found hiding under them. There are 2 major groups of Trilliums- those with a flower stem and those without.

They prefer rich, loamy or humusy soils with good drainage and neutral pH for the most part in partial to full shade. Avoid afternoon sun and provide moisture during the growing season but drier when dormant. 

Use these plants in the shade garden for spring color, under trees or a woodland site.

Trillium seedlings take 2 or 3 years to develop their characteristic three-leaf structure, so if you see long, thin leaves poking out of the soil around your trillium, don't pull them out! It may take 7 or more years for a trillium to grow from seed to a mature, blooming plant. Cheap trilliums are almost always poached from the wild--purchase plants only from reputable dealers! Seeds are dispersed by ants and ground-nesting wasps, such as Yellow Jackets. Deer love to eat Trilliums.

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:
  • T. lancifolium 'Shotgun Wedding'
T. lancifolium 'Shotgun Wedding'
Tags:
#purple#red#white#showy flowers#yellow#poisonous#partial shade#perennial#pink flowers#deep shade#showy#shade tolerant#native perennial#shade garden#herbaceous#NC native#well-drained soil#perennial flowers#neutral ph#herbaceous perennial#native garden#rich soil#woodland#spring interest#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#forb#NC Native Pollinator Plant#loamy soils tolerant#native#perennials#loam#full shade#shade#part shade#loamy soil#HS302#shade flowers#audubon
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • T. lancifolium 'Shotgun Wedding'
T. lancifolium 'Shotgun Wedding'
Tags:
#purple#red#white#showy flowers#yellow#poisonous#partial shade#perennial#pink flowers#deep shade#showy#shade tolerant#native perennial#shade garden#herbaceous#NC native#well-drained soil#perennial flowers#neutral ph#herbaceous perennial#native garden#rich soil#woodland#spring interest#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#forb#NC Native Pollinator Plant#loamy soils tolerant#native#perennials#loam#full shade#shade#part shade#loamy soil#HS302#shade flowers#audubon
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Trillium
    Family:
    Melanthiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    Throughout
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Poisonous
    Wildflower
  • 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:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Capsule
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Petals:
    2-3 rays/petals
    Flower Description:
    solitary, 3 yellow, pink, purple or white petals and 3 green sepals that resemble petals
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Problems:
    Poisonous to Humans
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Unknown
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknownn
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    No
    Poison Part:
    Fruits
    Roots