Trillium

Trilliums are some of the most attractive spring wildflowers in Alabama. They are easily recognized by a whorl of three leaves at the summit of an otherwise naked stalk, from which arises the single stalked or stalkless often very showy flower. The petals range in color from white to pink, purplish, yellow, or maroon. The fruit is a many-seeded berry likewise divided into three's.

Attractive as the trilliums are in form and color, few have a pleasant fragrance. In fact, a few are ill-scented, particularly Trillium erectum, also called "stinking Benjamin."

In general they prefer rich, moist, humus-filled soil and the shade of mixed deciduous and evergreen woods.

The natural reproduction of trilliums does not seem to be especially prolific and it is well that we practice conservation with these beautiful flowers. Under proper conditions they are easily grown and long-lived perennials. A good, rich woods soil, reasonable amount of moisture, and good shade are essential.

In transplanting trilliums, cover the tuber-like rhizome with at least two inches of soil. Space plants about ten inches apart and be sure to water them in dry weather. Trilliums thrive in soil with lots of organic matter, and where the pH is neutral or slightly acid.

Trilliums can be grown from seed, but raising them from seed is slow. Only one leaf forms the first year. It takes five to seven years to get the first fruit.

WARNING: Since you can't pick trillium without picking the leaves, don't pick it at all! Those leaves provide the food for next year's flower.