Garden Photo of the Day

Celebrating an Iconic Wildflower

The great white trillium

Today Alice Fleurkens is sharing some photos of beautiful spring wildflowers from friends of hers.

My friends Bruce and Anne Holdsworth have sent me some pictures of their trilliums to forward to you. These grow in their natural woodlands, which are in Norwich Township, Ontario, Canada. As you can see, there are quite a few different ones, including variegated and double ones that return year after year. These woodlands are a haven for flowers, birds, and animals.

Trillium grandiflorum, the great white trillium (Zones 4–8) is one of the most beloved and iconic wildflowers of eastern North America. And it is easy to see why—the huge, white flowers are incredibly beautiful.

It is probably not by chance that this vigorous stand of happy trillium is growing next to the stump of a cut tree. (Looks like it could be an ash tree, a victim of the emerald ash borer.) Trilliums and many woodland wildflowers do best in bright shade and usually are at their thickest in the openings made by a fallen tree.

Zoom out and … more trillium!

And even MORE trillium! When it finds a place where it is happy, this species can form huge carpets of bloom, particularly in the north.

This flower, and several in the other photos, is streaked with green. Sadly, these beautiful patterns are usually the result of infection by a bacteria called mycoplasma, which will usually kill the infected plants. Sometimes, however, the beautiful green pattern will persist for years.

All flowers of Trillium grandiflorum blush pink right before they fade and wilt, but there are forms that have a wonderful pink color all the time.

Double forms of Trillium grandiflorum are particularly beautiful, with layers and layers of white petals. These forms are particularly useful in the garden because the double flowers last longer than the regular single forms.

And here is a fascinating double green flower! Again, this may be caused by a bacterial infection, but here’s hoping that this incredible flower will continue to come back year after year.


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View Comments


  1. Vezpasia 07/08/2019

    Beautiful pictures of trilliums, how lucky you are to have a woodland area like that. I have never come across the variegated ones, lovely even if caused by bacteria. Do you ever get the burgundy ones as well. We live in Collingwood, Ontario and often see these on the Bruce Trail when hiking in the spring, of course the white ones are most common, I do have some white ones in my small garden that I bought from my garden centre as it is illegal to dig these up, they are protected as Ontario’s official flower. Thank you for sharing.

  2. sandyprowse 07/08/2019

    “Ontario adopted the white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum), also known as the wake-robin and the white lily, as its official flower in 1937.Nov 12, 2010” I join the reader above in their comments of the beautiful Trillium. Thanks for the lovely photos. From a Fellow Ontarian.

  3. User avater
    user-7007816 07/08/2019

    Thank-you or sharing. I am envious.

  4. PamalaFlinn 07/08/2019

    Trulliums are also found in Skyline Drive Virginia a National Park maintained by the Federal Park Service.

  5. User avater
    simplesue 07/08/2019

    I'm sharing this article/photos with my sister-in-law that is starting to grow Trillium!

  6. User avater
    treasuresmom 07/08/2019

    Love the pics. I adore trilliums. I have a tiny clump of Prairie Trilliums that for the first time ever have seed pods. I am so excited.

  7. User avater
    CynthiaDow 07/09/2019

    It's fantastic!

  8. btucker9675 07/09/2019

    Thanks for sharing these beautiful trilliums! I had them in the "woodland" section of my garden in northern NJ and loved seeing them each Spring. Also loved the Jack in the Pulpits.

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