Perennial. Moist open woods. Nova Scotia to Minnesota and Manitoba, southward to North Carolina and Tennessee. Common in northern Ohio. April, May.


Thick, fleshy, bearing coarse rootlets.


Stout, twelve to eighteen inches high, green, often stained with reddish brown.


Broadly rhombic, three to six inches long and often quite as broad, acuminate at apex and narrowed at the base, ribbed and netted-veined, sessile.


Dull madder-red, rarely whitish or pinkish; on a pedicel one to three inches long, more or less declined; ill-scented.


Sepals three, lanceolate, acuminate, spreading, persistent.


Petals ovate to lanceolate, three-fourths to an inch and a half long, rich madder-red.


Six; borne around the pistil, with short filaments and long brownish red anthers, which open down the margins.


One, brownish red; ovary six-angled; stigmas three, sessile, recurved, stigmatic down the inner side.


Ovate berry, one-half to an inch long. Pollinated by flies and beetles.

The Ill-Scented Trillium evidently relies upon odor to attract its insect friends. Like all the Trilliums, it offers pollen in abundance but no nectar. The blossom has the distinction of being one of the few early woodland flowers of deep, rich color, its dark red becoming even darker by comparison with the paler growth which surrounds it. The plant gives the impression of strength and vigor; its leaves are large and veiny, the stem strong, sometimes tinged with red; the flower-pedicel either erect or inclined. It is one of our wildlings that could easily be transferred to the garden.

Painted Trillium. Trillium undulatum

Painted Trillium. Trillium undulatum

The Red Trillium is found frequently with the White, but is more abundant eastward than in the Ohio valley.

The Painted Trillium, Trillium undulatum, is a very beautiful species found in cold, damn woods. Its long, white, wavy-edged petals are moreless flushed or striped with red. The plant reaches the height of eighteen inches, and possesses all the family characters of the Trilliums; a tuberous rootstock, a single stem, three leaves, and a solitary blossom. Fruit a red berry.

Ill Scented Trillium. Trillium erectum

Ill-Scented Trillium. Trillium erectum

There are other Trilliums which are in the main western and southwestern forms, found in Pennsylvania and Ohio and ranging to Minnesota, Kentucky, and Arkansas. One of the most interesting is the Dwarf White or Snow Trillium, Trillium nivale, a tiny creature standing from two to five inches high. Its flowers are unmistakable White Trilliums, but they do not open very wide and are more protected by the leaves than is common. The bloom continues from March until May. The Sessile Trillium, Trillium sessile bears a flower very like that of the Ill-Scented, but differs in that it sits directly among the leaves with little if any flower-stem.

Trillium cernuum, the Nodding Trillium, bears a white-and-pink flower, wide open and nodding on its stem. It is found in rich woods throughout the range.