If you asked folks to name their favorite wildflowers, these charming woodland plants would rank high on many lists. They bloom in early spring and need some winter chill. Each stem is topped with a whorl of three leaves; from center of these rises a single flower with three petals. Plant the thick, deep-growing, fleshy rhizomes in a shady, woodsy site. Left undisturbed, they will gradually increase. Plants die to the ground in mid- to late summer. In addition to species listed below, many others are offered by specialists in native plants. Browsing deer often pass trilliums by.
T. catesbaei. CATESBY TRILLIUM. From the southeastern U.S. Resembles T. grandiflorum but has pink flowers.
T. cuneatum. SWEET BETSY. Native to Southeast. Reaches 112 ft. high, 1 ft. wide, with gray-mottled leaves and a banana-scented flower.
T. decipiens. CHATAHOOCHEE TRILLIUM. Zones MS, LS, CS; USDA 7-9. From Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. To 618 in. high, 4 in. wide. Mottled green leaves with pale centers, to 7 in. long. Greenish flowers, sometimes with purplish tints. Takes limy soils.
T. erectum. PURPLE TRIL- LIUM. From eastern North America. Grows to 2 ft. high, 1 ft. wide, with 7-in. leaves and 2-in., erect, brownish purple flowers. Sometimes known by the name stinking Benjamin due to the odd odor of its flowers. T. e. albiflorum has white or pale pink flowers.
T. grandiflorum. WHITE TRILLIUM. From eastern North America. The showiest trillium. To 112 ft. tall, 1 ft. wide, with stout stems and 212- to 6-in.-long leaves. Nearly stalkless flowers are nodding, to 3 in. across, white aging to rose. Several choice double-flowered forms are available, including 'Flore Pleno' and 'Snowbunting'.
T. luteum. YELLOW TRILLIUM. Native primarily to the Southeast and midsouth. Grows 1215 in. high and wide, with 6-in.-long, medium green leaves mottled with pale green. Canary-yellow flowers, with petals up to 312 in. long, are held upright; their fragrance is lemony and sweet.
T. recurvatum. PRAIRIE TRILLIUM, BLOODY BUTCHER. Native to eastern U.S. To 15 in. high, 1 ft. wide. Leaves to 3 in. long, spotted in reddish purple; purple-brown flowers.
T. sessile. TOADSHADE. From northeastern U.S. Grows 1 ft. high, 8 in. wide, with purple-spotted, 5-in.-long leaves and dark purplish red flowers.
T. underwoodii. UNDERWOOD'S TRILLIUM. Zones US, MS, LS, CS; USDA 6-9. Native to southeast U.S. To 8 in. tall, not quite as wide. Dark purple flowers contrast nicely with the beautiful foliage: 2- to 4-in.-long leaves mottled in light and dark green, with an irregular silver streak running down the center.
T. undulatum. PAINTED TRILLIUM. Zones US, MS; USDA 6-7. From eastern U.S. To 112 ft. high, 6 in. wide, with 6-in. leaves and upright, somewhat nodding, 112-in. white flowers marked reddish purple near petal bases. Not easy to grow; needs cool conditions and acid soil.