Trillium erectum 3qt (Purple Trillium)May 23, 2020
Trillium recurvatum 3qt (Prairie Trillium/Bloody Butcher)May 23, 2020
Trillium grandiflorum 3qt (Great White Trillium)
Great White Trillium is a stunning, graceful woodland native as well as the state wildflower of Ohio! Its gorgeous 3-4″ wide, snow white flowers have three petals with a yellow center. The flower and three green sepals are held above the three-parted whorl of deep green leaves on a short stem (peduncle.) The rootstock is a fat rhizome, once consumed for medicinal purposes, and the young leaves were eaten as a cooked green. The plants are too precious and slow-growing to even think of such a thing these days. Deer and rabbits, however, will seek out the above-ground portions and devour them. This can result in the death of the plant, so site them in a protected location if possible.
Great White Trilliums require moist, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter and a location out of direct sun. They will go summer dormant, or sometimes even earlier without adequate soil moisture. Their planting location needs to be well thought out, as they do not transplant well or appreciate changes in growing conditions. They can be an extremely long-lived species in their ideal habitat, and they will slowly naturalize. The seeds will spread around, with a lot of help from ants. The ants gather the fresh seeds and carry them back to their nests to eat the fleshy appendage attached to the seed coat (called elaiosomes.) The undamaged seeds are then discarded in their midden heaps, which are a perfectly rich and protected substrate for the seeds to germinate in. This mutualistic interaction helps many spring ephemerals to spread around the landscape, since most of their seeds are too heavy for wind transport and unviable if they get desiccated.
A colony of Great White Trilliums is a breathtaking sight and takes ample patience and protection, but it is well worth the wait!
Growing and Propagating Wildflowers by William Cullina
Herbaceous Perennial Plants by Allan M. Armitage
Growing and Propagating Wild Flowers by Harry R. Phillips
Missouri Botanical Garden
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Morton Arboretum-Black Walnut Tolerance