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ATrillium Recurvatum

ATrillium Recurvatum

ATrillium Recurvatum

The common name is misleading because the Prairie Trillium occurs in woodlands like other trilliums (Trillium spp.), rather than prairies. However, it is especially common in Illinois and the surrounding states where prairies occur. This trillium species is relatively easy to identify for the following reasons: 1) its sepals hang downward from the flower, whereas in other Trillium spp. the sepals are usually spreading to ascending; 2) its flowers are sessile against the central stem and leaves, whereas the flowers of some trilliums (e.g., Trillium erectum) are held above the foliage on short stalks; and 3) the leaves taper gradually at their bases into short petioles, whereas the leaves of some trilliums are sessile and quite rounded at their bases. There are different forms of the Prairie Trillium that have yellow or maroon flowers, yellow or black anthers, and mottled or solid green leaves. The form described here, Trillium recurvatum recurvatum, is by far the most common.

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The common name is misleading because the Prairie Trillium occurs in woodlands like other trilliums (Trillium spp.), rather than prairies. However, it is especially common in Illinois and the surrounding states where prairies occur. This trillium species is relatively easy to identify for the following reasons: 1) its sepals hang downward from the flower, whereas in other Trillium spp. the sepals are usually spreading to ascending; 2) its flowers are sessile against the central stem and leaves, whereas the flowers of some trilliums (e.g., Trillium erectum) are held above the foliage on short stalks; and 3) the leaves taper gradually at their bases into short petioles, whereas the leaves of some trilliums are sessile and quite rounded at their bases. There are different forms of the Prairie Trillium that have yellow or maroon flowers, yellow or black anthers, and mottled or solid green leaves. The form described here, Trillium recurvatum recurvatum, is by far the most common.Notes: Prairie Trillium is not indigenous to the Garden. Eloise Butler first recorded planting Prairie Trillium on Oct. 6, 1913 with 12 plants obtained from Gillett's Nursery in MA, six more on Oct. 12, 1918 and 12 on Oct. 1, 1920. It was present at the time of Martha Crone's 1951 Garden Census - she planted it in 1946, '53, and '56. Susan Wilkins planted 20 in 2020. It is not native to Minnesota but is native to a number of states east and south from Minnesota. It is not found in Canada. Four Trilliums are considered native to Minnesota: T. cernuum, T. flexipes, T. grandiflorum and T. nivale.

Above: Prairie Trillium is similar to Toadshade and Sweet Betsy. The differences are in the stalked bracts, the reflexed sepals and inward curve of the petals and stamens. Plants take a number of years of growth before flowering. Drawing from Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.Trillium recurvatum (Prairie Trillium) is a clump-forming rhizomatous perennial boasting solitary, purple to wine-red flowers, 1.75 in. tall (4 cm), in mid to late spring. The upright blossoms are adorned with 3 recurved petals, their tips converging over the stamens. They are borne atop an unbranched stem and presented above a whorl of 3 large, lanceolate to rounded, dark green leaves. The leaves are especially interesting because of their mottled appearance. Easy to grow, this charming Trillium is a lovely choice for wildflower gardens or woodland gardens, where it will carpet the ground, regaling those who view it. This is one of the earliest blooming trilliums. 

 

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