Large-Flowered Trillium (Trillium Grandiflorum) is the largest of the genus in all respects and is one of the best known and most common species. It can be looked for with expectation of finding in any-damp, rich woods during May or June. Should a brook run through the woods, you will be almost sure of finding this or some other trillium growing at some point along the banks. ( Usually they grow in colonies and it is an exception when one finds a single plant without others being in sight. The stem of this species is from 10 to 18 inches in height; the waxy white petals are from 1½ to 2 in. in length; as they grow older the color changes to a delicate pink and they curve gracefully backwards.
The flower is on a short pedicel above the whorl of broad,ovate-pointed and shortly petioled leaves; the latter are light green with three prominent, parallel ribs. This species is found from Vt. to Minn, and southwards, to N. C. and Mo.
Nodding Trillium (T. Cernuum) is quite similar to, but smaller than the last species. Its blossom is either white or pink and is on a curved pedicel that often bends so as to place the flower beneath the whorl of leaves; the edges of the petals are quite wavy. This demure, bashful little trillium is found from Newfoundland and Man. South to Pa. and Mich.
Trillium declinatum is similar to the Nodding Trillium but the flowers are on a longer horizontal pedicel. It is found from Mich, and Minn, south to Mo.
Dwarf White Or Snow Trillium (T. Nivale) is a diminutive species with white flowers, standing only 2 to 5 in. high. The bell-shaped flower is erect; both the petals and the leaves have rounded ends. Pa. to Minn, and south to Tenn, and Mo.
Painted Trillium. Trillium undulatum.
Painted Trillium (Trillium Undulatum) has sharply pointed, wavy-edged, waxy-white petals with crimson V-shaped marks at the bases. The ovate leaves are sharply pointed and petioled. It is a common species from Quebec to Ontario and southwards.
The Trilliums may rank as among the few of our most eagerly sought wild flowers. The Arbutus, the Moccasin Flowers, Arethusa, Pogonia and Fringed Gentian all seem to possess subtle charms that draw even the novice or those not at all interested in botany to seek them. To be sure they are all beautiful, but then there are quantities of other flowers that are beautiful and that are passed by without notice as we pursue our search for these treasures. Most of these prizes have a certain peculiarity of form or a waxy-white purity to the flowers that appeals to us more than does the ordinary texture and commonplace appearance of the general run of our beautiful flowers.
The Painted Trillium is usually regarded as the most beautiful of the genus. Certain it is that it is the most abundant. It is more gregarious than the others, and we often find large beds of them with their dainty, waxy-white, wavy-edged flowers swaying above the deep green background formed by their broad, whorled leaves. They grow most profusely along the banks of woodland brooks and in cool, moist glens. You will find them most abundant during the latter part of May soon after the Wood Thrush, that frequents the same locality, makes his appearance from the South. They are always associated in my mind with these birds and with Water Thrushes that I have often watched as they daintily threaded their way among the numerous plant stalks, entirely concealed above by the numerous leaves, and visible only by placing the head close to the ground.