Trillium: Popular Outdoor Growing Species

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Trillium: Popular Outdoor Growing Species
Trillium: Popular Outdoor Growing Species

A general description of the traits of the trillium plant, interesting notes, species recommended for growing in mid-latitudes, species and varieties of American origin.

Trillium is part of the genus, which in some sources is attributed to the Liliaceae family, in others there is a mention of the Melanthiaceae family. In any case, the genus contains monocotyledonous representatives of the flora, in the embryo of which there is only one cotyledon.


According to some reports, all species of the genus have now been bred into a separate family of the same name Trilliaceae.

The genus of trilliums numbers about 38 species, while on the territory of Russia, only 2-3 of them are distributed. Basically, most of these plants grow in the temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, while their native lands are attributed to Asia and the Far East, trilliums are also found on the continent of North America.

All species have a long-term growth cycle and are characterized by a herbaceous vegetation. Trillium rhizome is shortened, but rather thick. The height of the stems, which they are able to reach, can vary in the range of 50-60 cm. The stems grow erect, colored green, but the upper part sometimes has a reddish tint. In the root zone, the leaf plates have scaly outlines, and those that grow on the stems are assembled three pieces in whorls.

The foliage can take on an ovoid shape, with an elongated point at the top. Trillium leaves are simple, solid, the edge is smooth. On the surface of the leaves, painted in a deep green color, venation is present. The veins are decoratively pressed into the leaf plate. Despite the fact that the plant is an ephemeroid, that is, the period of its vegetative activity is very short and falls on spring days, the foliage serves as a decoration for the bush until autumn.

The flowering process in trillium species differs, so there are species whose buds open in April (early flowering), and there are those that will bloom only at the very end of May (late flowering). However, the total mass of such flowering and decorative representatives of the flora will delight with flowering from the beginning of the May days. This process lasts from five to fifteen days.

Trillium flowers are located singly. Their perianth, composed of three pairs of lobes. Of these, the three lobes that grow inside are longer than the outer ones. The inner lobes are characterized by a petal shape and a white, reddish or dull yellow tint. The outer perianth lobes are green. In flowers, the color is white or white-greenish, as well as yellow, pink or crimson.

But not only the types of trillium differ in flowering time, the position of the flower is also an important characteristic:

  • some species are devoid of pedicels, and the flowers seem to be sessile on the leaves;
  • in the second varieties, the pedicels grow straight, and the flower with its open corolla "looks" into the sky;
  • the third species are characterized by a drooping pedicel and a flower inclined to the ground.

When the flowers are pollinated, the trillium will ripen the fruits, represented by a three-nested box filled with seeds. Fruit color is green.

Although the plant is distinguished by its splendor flowering, it is still considered a rare guest in gardens, since its reproduction involves some difficulties. Everything is due to an underdeveloped embryo in the seed. In order for it to fully mature, it needs at least three vegetative seasons, and only then it will be possible to rejoice at the sprouted seedlings.

At the same time, it is possible to propagate trillium by dividing the overgrown curtain, however, when growing, the plant requires the creation of certain conditions: constantly moderately moist soil and openwork shading. But if the gardener tries not to violate the rules of agricultural technology, then such a flowering and decorative bush will become a real decoration of the spring garden.

Read also about the agricultural techniques of planting and caring for tigridia in the open field

Interesting notes about the trillium flower

Trillium grows

Despite their decorative effect, these flowers have long been familiar to people for their medicinal or other properties. So, for example, the Trillium smallii species, which grows in Russia and Japan, prefers tall grasses and birch forests for growth, has edible rounded fruits without ribs. They began to cultivate trilliums since the 16th century, but due to the complexity of seed reproduction, not many people want to grow such a plant on their personal plot.


Each of the parts of the world can "boast" the possession of only certain types of trilliums, so only 7 species grow in the Asian territory and the Far East, and all the rest are of North American origin. There are no such species in the genus that are found simultaneously in all the indicated areas of the planet.

The plant got its name due to the fact that any of its parts is composed of three units: leaves, sepals or petals, stamens and carpels, as well as the presence of a three-celled ovary in flowers. Therefore, the Latin term "trilix", translated as "triple" indicates this feature of the representative of the flora.

Local residents of Kamchatka call the Kamchatka trillium "cuckoo tomarks", its fruits are good for food. In Japan, the berries are not only suitable for food, but are also considered medicinal. The rhizome also has medicinal properties. If you dig it up, wash it off the ground and dry it in shade, then the decoction prepared on the basis of the roots is used to treat intestinal diseases, and this drug will also help digestion.

Read also interesting notes about the tladian, features of the use of the plant

Description of trillium species suitable for cultivation in our latitudes

Below are the species from Asia and the Far East that can be grown in our climate:

In the photo Trillium Kamchatka

Trillium Kamchatka (Trillium camschatcense)

It is one of the most decorative representatives of the genus and one of two that grow on the territory of Russia, namely in the southern regions of Kamchatka, on the Kuril Islands and Sakhalin, in Primorye and Khabarovsk Territory. It is also not uncommon in Japan, the northeastern Chinese regions and the Korean Peninsula. Prefers in nature for growth, both forests and valleys, mountain slopes and birch forests, in places with well-moistened soil and willow-alder forests, in thickets and in tall grass.

Trillium Kamchatka can reach a height of 15–40 cm, but some specimens stretch up to 0.6 m. The rhizome is thickened, but short, grows to a length of 3–4 cm, has an oblique appearance. The flowering process lasts two weeks from the first days of May. The peduncle grows straight and measures 9 cm in length. The color of the petals in the flowers is white. The length of the petal is measured 4 cm with a width of about 2.5 cm. At the top, the petals are rounded. Ripening of seeds occurs in August. This species easily reproduces by self-seeding, however, the development rate of seedlings is low, and flowering can be expected after five years. The plant is unpretentious and pleases with flowering every year.

In the photo Trillium Small

Trillium small (Trillium smalii)

It was named after the American botanist John Kunkel Small (1869-1938), who studied the flora of his native places, namely Florida. In nature, it grows not only in Russia (in the Kuriles, Sakhalin, in Iturup and Urup), but also in Japan.Often it prefers to grow in the mountains, where there are stone-birch forests, characterized by tall grasses and bamboo. It is considered a rarer species, unlike the previous one, it has a later flowering. Ripening of seed occurs in mid-August. The fruits can be used as food.

Trillium Small can reach a height of 15–25 cm, which is much less than Kamchatka. The flower has reddish-purple petals. It is devoid of pedicels and seems to be sedentary, and its size is small, which affects the overall decorative effect of the plant. The fruit has a rounded shape, its surface is without ribs and, when fully ripe, becomes a dark red color.

Due to its ineffective appearance, this type of trillium is a rarer guest in gardens, but at the same time it is characterized by a stable cultivation and grows well in a semi-shady location.

In the photo Trillium chonoski

Trillium tschonoskii

is named after the Japanese botanist Chonosuke Sugawa (1841-1925). The area of ​​growth stretches from the Himalayan mountains to Korea, this also includes the lands of Taiwan and the Japanese islands such as Kyushu and Honshu, as well as Hokkaido and Shikoku. For growth, preference is given to woodlands of deciduous and mixed tree species or mossy lands. There are a number of varieties with similar characteristics to each other.

The stem of the trillium chonoski reaches a height of 0.4 m. The petals in the flowers are painted in a snow-white color, their length is 3-4 cm and a width of about 2 cm. The fruit is formed in the form of a berry of green color.

This species easily lends itself to crossing with the Kamchatka trillum, although in the gardens of our latitudes its growth is quite good, but the flowering is not distinguished by splendor.

Trillium species and varieties of American origin

The above species have a Far Eastern homeland, but there are a number of plants originating exclusively from the territory of the North American continent, among them the following can be noted:

In the photo, Trillium wilted

Trillium wilted (Trillium cernuum)

Grows in natural conditions in the very north of the North American continent. Its distribution occurs in the Great Lakes regions of the United States and Newfoundland, as well as in Canada. In the southern regions of this region, it is found in marshlands and on the banks of river arteries. When growing in the northern regions, preference is given to forests in the mountains, composed of mixed and coniferous trees. Can often grow with Canadian yew.

The height of the drooping trillium stems is in the range of 20–60 cm. During flowering, a drooping pedicel forms, which is why the flowers are bent to the ground with corollas, so they can hide under deciduous plates. This reduces the decorative effect of the plant. Flower petals are white or pink in color, their edge is wavy. The fruit is an egg-shaped berry reaching a length of 1, 5–2 cm. The color of trillium berries is reddish-purple. They also grow drooping. Flowering in our latitudes is the latest and falls on the end of May, the process stretches until the end of the second decade of June. The cultivation of this species is carried out in botanical gardens located in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

In the photo, Trillium is upright

Trillium erectum

in America they are often called Trillium red, Trillium purple, or "smelly Benjamin" or "smelly Willie." It happens that this name is accompanied by the expression "stinks like a wet dog." But, despite this, the plant itself is decorative and if you do not bring the flower too close to the face, then its unpleasant smell is not felt.

The natural distribution area of ​​trillium erectus falls on the Canadian lands and the northeastern states of the United States. If we talk about the southern regions of the United States, then in the valleys it often grows a variety with a white color of flowers - Trillium erectum var. album.

Trillium of this species grows next to rhodendrons in mountain forests of deciduous trees.If we talk about the northern regions of the natural range, then there he settles in the thickets formed by the Canadian yew. In Michigan, trillium plantations are found in lowlands on swampy soils, along river arteries, especially preferring tuyevniki. As it spreads further south, more and more "climbs" into the mountains (especially the dark red form). For growth, he chooses soils with a neutral or slightly acidic reaction. Shrubs characterized by snow-white flowers (Trillium erectum var. Album) prefer nutritious and slightly alkaline substrates.

When growing upright trillium, planting should be carried out in soil enriched with humus, moist, with a slightly acidic reaction. The height of the stems does not go beyond 20-60 cm. The flower petals, pointed at the tops, are painted in pink, greenish, white or brown-purple color. The fruit is an egg-shaped berry with six lobes. The length of the fruit is 1, 6–2, 4 cm. Its color, when ripe, becomes crimson, thickening to almost black. In the white form of this trillium species, the fruit color is slightly lighter. The flowering process is early and falls on the first days of May. They show excellent growth, lush flowering and fruiting, both the species itself and its forms.

Trillium erectus has long been grown as a crop, and in addition to such forms as var. album as well as var. erectum, there are a large number of transitional ones, characterized by flowers of a pink or pale yellow hue. But these can be hybrids, both of natural origin and bred by humans, among them are trillium wilted (Trillium cernuum), bent (Trillium flexipes), nodding (Trillium rugelii).

In the photo Trillium bowed

Trillium flexipes

can be found under the name Trillium bore. This type is one of the most confusing in appearance. It is somewhat reminiscent of such species as trillium drooping and trillium nodding (Trillium rugelii), as well as some of the forms of upright trillium (Trillium erectum var. Album). The natural habitat falls exclusively on the territory of the United States, namely, a little south of the Great Lakes. For growth, preference is given to forests in the mountains and calcareous soils.

Trillium stems inclined in height vary in the range of 20-50 cm. It has a rhizome located at an angle, and not in a horizontal plane, as in other species. The leaf plates are characterized by a rhombus shape. The peduncle is elongated, has a bend almost at right angles directly under the flower in such a way that the corolla is almost horizontal.

The flowers have ovate-lanceolate petals, which are 2–5 cm long and only 1–4 cm wide. They have a bend at the top, the texture of the petals of Trillium perforatum is dense, but veins are visible on the surface. The color of the flowers is snow-white. The fruits are juicy berries, large in size, colored in crimson or reddish-pink shades. If the berry is damaged, a fruity aroma spreads. Maturation occurs in September. Although the description was given to the species as early as 1840, it became known to collectors of flora quite recently.

In the photo, Trillium large-flowered

Trillium grandiflorum

This type is the most popular among gardeners. Grown in culture since the 16th century, while its cultivation is easy and has several varieties, characterized by a spectacular appearance. In America, the plant is called Trillium white or Trillium large white. Its flower is a symbol of Ontario - the province of Canada.

The distribution area of ​​large-flowered trillium is in the United States, south of the Great Lakes, and in the north it reaches Quebec and Ontario (provinces of Canada). For growth, he prefers well-drained soils with a slightly acidic or neutral reaction.It settles in thickened forests of deciduous or mixed species, but most of all "to taste" forests of sugar maple and beech in the northern regions of the specified range.

The height of the stems varies within 15-30 cm, but there are specimens reaching half a meter, while the diameter of the flower towering above the deciduous mass is 10 cm. The color of the large-flowered trillium petals is snow-white, but pinkish tones appear by the end of flowering. The flower is devoid of smell. The edge of the petals is slightly corrugated. Filaments are yellow colored.

The parameters of the diameter of the flower and the height of the stems directly depend on the size of the rhizome of large-flowered trillium. If the plant is 1-2 years old, then it is much lower than adult bushes, its flowers are smaller and only reaching 3-4 years of life, all the beauty is manifested. But still, the size depends finally on the specific representative of the genus. If we talk about growing in the Moscow region, then it is characterized by resistance and flowering begins in the second half of May, when the erect trillium has already blossomed. The duration of this process is extended to 14 days. Seed material ripens only by August.

There are the following forms of large-flowered trillium:

  • Grandiflorum, is a typical plant, the color of blossoming flowers is snow-white, acquiring pinkish tones by the end of flowering.
  • Roseum, when the buds open, the flower petals immediately have a pink color. Perhaps this color is caused by genetic mutations in which a large number of pigments of this tone are reproduced, since in such plants the presence of even reddish leaf plates is noted. Also, the color of this form of trillium directly depends on the type of substrate on which the bushes grow, its mineral content, acidity factor (pH) and indicators of soil and air temperature.
  • Polymerum is a mutation with a double flower structure, which is quite common in large-flowered trillium.

It can be noted that specific specimens of the species may differ in external characteristics from each other and have their own names, but they will not be generally recognized. Other forms are most likely the result of mutations caused by viral diseases.

In the photo Trillium Kuroboyashi

Trillium kurabayashii

This view is one of the most interesting. It received its specific name thanks to the botanist from Japan M. Kuroboyashi, who studied this representative of the flora. It grows in the American territory in humid forests of coniferous trees, as well as along river arteries. Prefers humus-rich soil.

The height of the stems can reach half a meter. The leaf plates have a spotted pattern. Flowers with petals measure 10 cm in length and about 3 cm in width. The color of flowers in trillium Kuroboyashi is bright, including dark red and purple shades. Although the flowers have a pleasant aroma when they open, they change to smelly as they bloom. Since the plant when grown in our strip does not have sufficient resistance for the winter, it is recommended to provide shelter.

In the photo Trillium is yellow

Trillium yellow (Trillium luteum)

The area of ​​growth includes forests of deciduous trees and hillsides. But preference is given to old forest areas, in which the soil is enriched with leaf humus on a calcareous base. If we talk about the state of Tennessee, then there are plants not only in the forests, but filling the ditches along the roads.

It is one of the most common types in horticulture. On American soil, trillium yellow is naturalized from gardens to nearby forests. It can be found very far outside the natural growing area.

The stems rarely exceed 30 cm in height. At the base, they have a crimson color. The leaf plates are covered with spots.The flower of the yellow trillium grows sessile, without a peduncle. Its length is 6–8 cm. The petals take on a bright or lemon-yellow hue. Lemon aroma spreads during flowering. When cultivated in the gardens of our latitudes, the plant takes on a greenish color. The flowering process occurs at the beginning of June, it is regular, but the fruit is not tied.

In the photo Trillium is bent

Trillium recurvatum

also found under the name Prairie Trillium. Natural growth occurs in almost all the lands occupied by the Mississippi River Basin, but a greater accumulation of plants is seen where the large river arteries of Ohio and Mississippi merge. The species gives preference to clay nutrient substrates found in river floodplains, often in flooded areas. Sessile-flowered trillium and camassia may be nearby.

In height, the stems of prairie trillium do not go beyond the range of 0, 4–0, 5 m. The petals of the flowers are arranged vertically, their size is almost 4 cm in length, with a width of 2 cm. Their color takes on a dark reddish-purple color. Today there are the following forms:

  • Luteum, characterized by almost yellow petals;
  • Shayi, the owner of flowers in which the petals can take on pale yellow or greenish tones.

In garden cultivation, it is undemanding. It pleases with flowering regularly since the last week of May or with the arrival of June. But at the same time, the view is inferior in decorativeness to others.

In the photo, Trillium sessile-flowered

Trillium sessile

may also occur under the name Trillium is sedentary. The natural distribution area is in the eastern regions of the United States. During growth, preference is given to clay substrates with the addition of lime, which are often found in river floodplains. Growth is also possible in mountainous areas. It can coexist with other types of trilliums, often plantings of the liverwort and the medicinal thyroid podophila grow nearby. On the territory of America it can be nicknamed "trillium toad" or "trillium sedentary".


Often, other types of trillium are offered under this name in flower shops.

The stems of this plant reach a height of a quarter of a meter. The length of the leaf plate is 10 cm and the width is about 8 cm. Its shape is rounded, there are no petioles. The color of the deciduous mass is greenish or bluish-green. It happens that the leaves of trillium sessile are characterized by a sheen of a silvery tone; in rare cases, the foliage is decorated with a bronze spot, which disappears as the flowering is completed.

The buds bloom quite early, almost one of the first in the genus. In flowers, the length of the petals reaches the parameters of the width and length of 2x3 cm. At the ends of the petals of the sessile-flowered trillium, there is a sharpening, their shape is narrowed and ascending, which makes them seem like fiery tongues. Sepals with lanceolate outlines, growing outstretched. The color of flowers can take on a reddish brown or greenish yellow color scheme. In the process of flowering, a strong alluring aroma spreads around.

There is a form Viridiflorum, which is characterized by a yellowish-green color of flowers.

Ripening of seeds of trillium toad falls on the period of August-September, self-seeding has not yet been noted. When grown in the gardens of our latitudes, it may not appear from the soil annually. For some gardeners, flowers resemble flames, while others find them gloomy.

In the photo, Trillium is oval

Trillium oval (Trillium sulcatum)

Almost 25 years ago, the species became separate, but until that time it was considered as a species or hybrid of upright trillium. In nature, there is an opportunity to meet him in a small area stretching from West Virginia to the eastern lands of Kentucky. It grows in woodlands along with such species as large-flowered trillium, inclined and wedge-shaped.It grows well, blooms and bears fruit on soils with a neutral (pH 6, 5-7) and slightly acidic (pH 5-6) reaction. For growth, he chooses elephants with an east or north orientation. In the forests, it is seen in the vicinity of an admixture of Canadian hemlock.

Trillium oval is a rather powerful plant, the height of the stems of which can reach 0.7 m. It has a large flower, painted in a dark reddish-burgundy hue. It owes its specific name to the outline of the edge of the petals - in the form of an oval. The length of the petal reaches 5 cm and the width is 3 cm. When flowering, a pleasant aroma spreads around. The fruit is a box filled with seeds, taking a rounded pyramidal shape. The color of the box is red.

There are forms of oval trillium characterized by snow-white and yellow colors. When grown in the Moscow region, it shows stability, regular flowering, although quite late.

In the photo, Trillium is wavy

Trillium undulatum (Trillium undulatum)

In height, its stems vary within 0, 2–0, 4 m. The leaf plates are thin, but have an oval shape. The length of the leaves is 5–10 cm. In the flowers, the sepals are much shorter than the petals. The petals are characterized by a white color, veins are visible on their surface, the base is crimson. The shape of the petals is oval, the edge is wavy. When fully opened, the flower reaches 4 cm in diameter. The peduncle is erect, which is why the flower "looks" into the sky. Flowering later, starts from the last days of May or with the arrival of summer. Ripening of seeds occurs in September.

Trillium gleason

… Does not exceed 0.4 m in height with its stems. The outlines of the leaf plates are widerhombic. The pedicel is drooping and the flower corolla "looks" down. The petals are whitish, the top is rounded. Sepals are lanceolate.

Snow trillium (Trillium nivale)

The appearance is characterized by early flowering, it happens that the shoots begin to break through the snow cover that has not yet completely disappeared. The height of the stems is characterized by low stature, does not go beyond 8–15 cm. The foliage is characterized by a broadly elliptical shape. There are no pereshkov. The peduncle is erect, reaching 1–3 cm in length. The corolla of the flower “looks” up because of this. Oval petals are whitish. Sepals are smaller than petals in length.

In the photo Trillium green

Trillium green (Trillium viride)

the stems cannot go beyond the height values ​​of 0, 2–0, 5 m. The foliage has lanceolate contours, there are no petioles (sessile), painted in a spotted pattern. The flower is also without stalks, sessile. Wide sepals grow ascending. It seems that they serve to support such rising petals. The latter are brownish-purple in color. The plant is self-sowing and looks unusual.

In the photo, Trillium is ovoid

Trillium ovate (Trillium ovatum)

… Prefers in natural conditions woodlands located in mountain gorges. The color of the foliage is pale green. Veins are clearly visible on their surface. When blooming, white flowers are revealed, which, as they bloom, take on a pinkish tint.

Trillium sulcatum (Trillium sulcatum)

The first description was given in 1984. The height of the stems is 0.5–0.55 m. Large flowers bloom, their petals have a red or reddish-burgundy color. The flowers are located above the leaf plates with semi-rounded contours, crowning a peduncle equal to 10 cm. There is a natural form with a snow-white color of flowers.

In the photo Trillium Vaseya

Trillium vaseyi

Quite a rare species that you find great joy in collections. It is characterized by the presence of flowers of large sizes with wide petals, which have a back bend. The color of their rich and deep shade of ruby. The height of the adult stems by a specimen reaches a height of half a meter. Flowering begins in the last days of May.

In the photo, Trillium is wedge-shaped

Trillium cuneatum (Trillium cuneatum)

also has a stem height of 0.5 m, flowering also later (at the end of May). Its flowers are characterized by a rich wine-burgundy tone.There is a pattern on the leaf plates, while in different forms of spots, their location, density and color intensity are different.

The cultivation of such a wonderful representative of the flora is described in our article "Trillium: how to plant and care in open ground".

Related article: Popular species for growing trillium outdoors

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