Trillium erectum L. - Purple Trillium


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Trillium erectum - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Liliaceae


Moist woods. Can be found in less calcareous soils than T. grandiflorum.




Quebec and Ontario to MD and OH with a few scattered population to northeast IL, south in mountains to NC, GA, and TN.


Herbaceous perennial to 40 cm. Leaves broadly rhombic, about as wide as long, narrowed with nearly straight margins from about the middle to an acute base. Flowers solitary, held above leaves on a peduncle 3-8 cm long; erect or lateral; sepals lanceolate to lance-ovate or ovate, flat or weakly sulcate-tipped, equaling or somewhat shorter than the petals; petals maroon, occasionally yellow, white or green, lanceolate to lance-ovate, 2.5-6 cm, acute, spreading from the base; ovary deep maroon developing into a berry with 6 ribs.


Flowers April to May

Wetland indicator: Facultative Upland -

The seeds are dispersed by ants. Also called Stinking Benjamin for the odor of the flowers, most likely pollinated by flies or beetles. Fruits mature later than T. grandiflorum.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.

The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




 Michael Hough 2004