Trillium teaser

We’re so busy photo-documenting our trillium collection from late winter through early spring, that we often don’t take time to share any images from our collection. As we file this years images, here are a few samples.

Our staff, as well as outside collaborating researchers spend significant time studying these in both the wild and under garden conditions. We began growing trilliums from seed, because we were so concerned with plants being dug from the wild for sales, which, unless the area is being developed, or are coming up in a home lawn (which actually happens), is not recommended. That said, we concede that while we have visited enormous populations that could be sustainably harvested for hundred of years, it’s just not something we do. When you purchase trillium rhizomes in a plastic bag from a box store or garden center, these are most likely wild-harvested, and will almost never survive. It takes 4-6 years to grow trillium from seed to flower, which is why few nurseries do it. Properly grown, nursery-propagated trillium are actually incredibly easy to grow, and can even be successfully transplanted in full flower. We hope you will be stirred to explore the world of trilliums from our garden photos below.

Here is a particularly nice selection of Trillium cuneatum. This name currently includes several species that will eventually become separate entities. This represents what we know as true T. cuneatum.

Trillium cuneatum

Trillium catesbyi is one of the southernmost of the pedicellate (tiny stalk between the leaf and the flower) toadshades.

Trillium catesbyi

This unusual yellow-flowered selection of Trillium decipiens hails from Early County, Georgia

Trillium decipiens Early Co. GA

The fascinating Trillium decumbens appears to have leaves that lay flat on the ground, thanks to a “decumbent” stalk. This is from a population in St. Clair County, Alabama

Trillium decumbens St. Clair Co. AL

Trillium discolor is a choice garden species that hails from the region around Western South Carolina. Unlike most sessile trillium, the typical flower color is light yellow. This is also one of the later trillium to flower.

Trillium discolor

Trillium erectum is a species that typically will not survive here, due to its mostly northern native range. Our plant below is from a heat-tolerant population in Graham County, NC.

Trillium erectum Graham Co. NC

Trillium flexipes is one of the finest white pedicillate trillium species for the garden. It looks similar to the better-known Trillium grandiflorum, but is larger and more vigorous. This is a seedlings from a North Alabama population.

Trillium flexipes N. Alabama

This is one of our nursery seedlings of the deep south native, Trillium foetidissimum. This species makes a vigorous, nicely offsetting clump with age.

Trillium foetidissimum

Trillium grandiflorum is one of the most popular pedicellate trilliums. Typically, this species doesn’t love our hot, humid climate. This form, which emerges white, then ages to pink has thankfully thrived here.

Trillium grandiflorum pink

Trillium lancifolium has narrow leaves, and tall petals. It typically is found in swamps or similar wetlands, but adapts well to more typical garden soils. These represent a population from Shelby County, Alabama

Trillium lancifolium Shelby County, AL

Trillium lancifolium ‘Lancelot’ is superb yellow-flowering form we found while botanizing with the late naturalist, Angus Gholsen, in North Florida.

Trillium lancifolium ‘Lancelot’

Trillium ludovicianum is one of the earliest species to emerge, which makes sense because of its deep south (Louisiana) roots. It’s far more winter hardy than its southern origin in Grant Parish, Louisiana, would indicate.

Trillium ludovicianum Grant Parish, LA

Trillium luteum hails from the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The color and delicious lemon fragrance sets this apart from all other toadshades. Sadly, this is one of the species that is often dug from the wild for sale, something we do not endorse. Cheap prices are pretty much a guarantee that a plant is wild dug. In cultivation, these require 4-6 years from seed to be a saleable size.

Trillium luteum

Trillium maculatum is easily recognized by its petals, which are wide and boat-shaped at the tips. This is grown from a population in Russell County, Alabama.

Trillium maculatum Russell Co., AL

This is a highly coveted yellow-flowered Trillium maculatum, known as T. maculatum forma luteum, looking particularly nice in the garden.

Trillium maculatum forma luteum

Trillium pusillum var. carolinianum is one of the smallest trilliums, usually found growing on hummocks in boggy conditions. It adapts very well to typical garden soil.

Trillium pusillum var. carolinianum

Trillium radiatum is a newly described species from the confluence of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee. It was previously one of many species, lumped in error under Trillium cuneatum.

Trillium radiatum

Trillium rugellii is the southern equivalent of the northern nodding toadshade, Trillium cernuum. This is an easy-to-grow, nice clump-forming trillium. These genetics are from a population in Talledega, Alabama.

Trillium rugellii Talledega Co. AL

Trillium stamineum is known as the propeller-flowered toadshade, due to its twisted petals. This represents an original collection from Monroe County, Alabama.

Trillium stamineum Monroe Co. AL

Trillium sulcatum is visually a Trillium erectum on steroids. The plant below was seed-grown from a population in Morgan County, Tennessee.

Trillium sulcatum Morgan Co. TN

Trillium tennesseense is a recently discovered rarity from Hamblin County, Tennessee. In appearance, it’s quite similar to the SC Trillium oostingii, but DNA shows them to be unique species

Trillium tennesseense

Trillium texanum is another dwarf, bog-growing species from Texas. It’s quite odd for Texas to claim anything “small”. This makes a lovely, nice-multiplying clump in the garden. This represents genetics from Nacogdoches County, Texas.

Trillium texanum Nacogdoches Co, TX

Trillium underwoodii is an early-emerging species from North Florida and adjacent Georgia and Alabama. It typically flowers purple, but our yellow-flowered discovery from several decades ago, T. underwoodii ‘Emerald Tiara’ is a stunner.

Trillum underwoodii ‘Emerald Tiara’

Trillium sp. nov. dawsonii is our working name for an undescribed species in Northern Georgia. For us, this high elevation species is one of the latest trilliums to emerge and flower. This is a fascinatingly variable population with flowers of both red and yellow. The Latin abbreviation, sp. nov. indicates this is still a formally undescribed species.

Trillum sp. nov. dawsonii

Trillium sp. nov. amicalola is another high elevation undescribed species, also from Georgia

Trillium sp. nov. amicalola

Trillium sp. nov. elbertianum is yet another undescribed species from the Georgia/South Carolina border. This excellent garden plant is quite variable in the wild, indicating that it possibly arose through ancient hybridization.

Trillium sp. nov. elbertianum

We hope this gives you a small peak into the incredible world of Southeast US native trilliums, and we hope you feel compelled to become an ex-situ conservation partner by growing these in your garden, and sharing with others when they multiply.

6 thoughts on “Trillium teaser”

  1. Could Trillium sulcatum be a tetraploid of Trillium erectum?

    Has Trillium flexipes been crossed with the double flowering grandiflora?

    1. I’ve never seen a double T. grandiflorum with sexual parts. Without time currently to pour through the research, I’m not sure if the ploidy of T. sulcatum has been compared to T. erectum

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