Also Known As
Eastern trillium, White trillium
Native Americans and settlers used the fibrous inner bark ("bast") as a source of fiber for rope, mats, fish nets, and baskets. Before the widespread availability of synthetics, American Linden was once the material choice for prosthetic limbs. It is still valued for its soft, light, easily worked wood, especially for turned items and hand carving.
Trilliums have a single showy white flower of three large petals found on top of three whorled leaves. As its name implies, the large flowers of this species make it easy to identify.
Did You Know?
Trilliums do best on steep slopes, where they are less likely to be eaten by white-tailed deer. They are commonly found in rich, deciduous forests, mostly in upland areas. The seeds of trilliums are spread by ants, which often means that the seeds do not move very far from the parent plant.
There is one whorl of three leaves, each oval-shaped with pointed tips, at the top of the stem. Leaves have undulate (wavy) margins, and no petioles (stalks). Leaves are dark green, and have prominent veins that appear engraved into the leaf’s smooth surface.
A singular, white, 3-parted flower with prominent yellow anthers. Each flower is about 2 in (5 cm) wide. The three large, elliptical petals have pointed tips, each spread at a 45 degree angle from one another (petals form a triangle). The flower is atop a 2 to 3 in (5 to 8 cm) upright stalk. There is one whorl of bracts before the petals, the sepals are lance-shaped, and poke out between the petals when viewed from the front of the flower. Flowers are odorless. Flowers bloom from March to June.
A pale green, round berry with a mealy center. The berry is approximately ½ in (1.5 cm) in diameter, and has six faint angles or edges. Each fruit contains about 16 seeds.
Grows in partial shade of woodlands on rich, dry to moderate moisture, in rich, loamy, sandy soil. Ontario to Nova Scotia, south to Alabama and Georgia.