is a genus that has a variety of species across North America. The "tri" Latin prefix, meaning three, is used because the parts of the flowers occur in threes or multiples of threes: three leaves, three petals, three sepals, three stigmas, and six stamens.
A common trillium of southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina is
, commonly referred to as Wake Robin. The researcher can become quickly confused by this lovely plant. Since it occurs in red/maroon, white, cream, pink, and mottled, the question is whether these are subspecies or whether these are just different colors of Trillium erectum. At this time there is no definitive answer.
Let's look at some of the Trillium erectum blossoms that occur close to each other. Red/maroon and cream are the most common in this area.
When red and cream occur in an area, it is not unusual to see pink or mottled.
The white form seems not to occur in the same area as the red and cream.
The Yellow Trillium,
grows in such large numbers in some slopes of the eastern
Smoky Mountains, that its growth habit is reminiscent of a weed.
, commonly called Sessile Trillium, is like the Yellow Trillium in that it does not grow in the Blue Ridge Discovery Center area. The one pictured to the right was growing in southeastern West Virginia.
belong to the "sessile" category. In this case "sessile" means that the flower has no stem.
is white. As it ages, the ovary and anthers
become pink and purplish, making it
even more lovely at a distance.
grows over a large area. This is fortunate
because it is one of the most beautiful of
You might still find some trilliums at
the higher elevations of North Carolina
and Virginia. Better yet, plan to see
them in the spring of 2014.