Trillium is any of several species of flowering plants of the lily family, Liliaceae.
The plant’s name comes from the Latin word for three. The blossoms of trilliums have three petals, three sepals’ six stamens, a three-celled ovary, and a cluster of thee leaves. A solitary flower blooms above the cluster of leaves. Trilliums are woodland plants native to North America and Asia. They grow in damp, shaded areas. About 30 different species are known. Some bloom in early spring before the robins come. Thus the name wake-robin is given to them.
One of the species of trillium with large flowers is the great white trillium or trinity lily. Its blossoms have broad petals, each two or three inches long, and a pleasant scent. Days after blooming, the flowers change from white to pink. The so called purple trillium (T. erectum) really has dark red petals. The blossom is beautiful but has a most unpleasant odor.
Perhaps the prettiest of the trilliums is the painted trillium (T. undulatum), also called painted wake-robin or smiling wake-robin. Its narrow, pointed petals are white marked with deep pink or maroon. The nodding miliums T. cernuum) white flowers droop and are almost hidden by the leaves.
When trilliums are picked, they wilt quickly, and the plant forms no seed for the next year.
It is best, therefore, to let the flowers stay in their natural woodland home.
In 1927 the trillium was made the official flower of Ontario, Canada.