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Plant Description


Trillium erectum L.

En: stinking Benjamin, ill-scented wakerobin, red trillium, purple trillium
Fr: trille dressé, trille rouge

Melanthiaceae (Melanthium Family)

Click on thumbnail to see larger image.
Trillium erectumflpl Trillium erectumflw


General: A perennial forb, 1.5–6 dm tall, with an erect, smooth (glabrous) stem growing from a thick, short rhizome, which is up to 3 cm thick.

Leaves: A whorl of 3 sessile leaves is borne at the top of the stem. Leaves are broadly ovate, 5–20 cm long and nearly as wide, smooth (glabrous) on both surfaces, bases are tapering (cuneate to attenuate); apices are sharply pointed (acuminate); margins are entire.

Flowers: Bisexual; the single terminal flower is stalked, flower stalk (peduncle), to 10 cm long. Flowers ill-scented; sepals 3, green to tinged with maroon, lanceolate, the tip sharply pointed (acuminate), 1–5 cm long; petals 3, usually deep red, but may be creamy white or various shades of faded red (as in the image above), oblong-ovate, 1–5 cm long; stamens 6; the single pistil with a 6-angled, ovoid, dark red, superior ovary, 0.5–1 cm long. Flowers bloom in May and early June.

Fruit: A slightly 6-angled, dark red , globose berry, 1–1.6 cm long. Fruits mature in summer.

Habitat and Range: Rich deciduous woods. The red trillium is native to northeastern North America. Trillium erectum is found throughout southern Ontario; it occurs north to the Ottawa District and barely extend into northeastern Ontario, near the Lake Nipissing area. Trillium erectum is the only red-petalled trillium in Ontario.

Internet Images: The Trillium erectum webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers, a website of the Connecticut Botanical Society.

The Trillium erectum webpage from the Gallery of Connecticut Wildflowers.

A Trillium erectum image from Images Nova Scotia website.

A Trillium erectum image from the Native Plant Society of New Jersey.

A Trillium erectum image from the Wildflowers of New England Website.

Read more about the different species of Trillium in North America at Dr. Susan Farmer's Trillium Website.

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