Plant Sale Profile: Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium1Native to Greene and Nelson, Trillium grandiflorum known as Large-Flowered Trillium or Great White Trillium, is one of the showiest trilliums in Virginia.   It grows in cove forests, mesic to dry-mesic slope forests, northern hardwood forests, Northern Red Oak forests, and seepage swamp hummocks; most characteristic of and numerous in (but not restricted to) soils weathered from mafic and moderately to strongly calcareous rocks. Common in the mountains; rare in the inner Piedmont.

Trillium grandiflorum grows 9-18 inches tall.  The central stem has 3 medium green terminal leaves 6 inches long by 5 inches across.  The flowers are 3-4 inches across.  Each flower consists of 3 white petals, 3 sepals, 3 stigmas, 6 stamens and a white ovary.  The petals often turn pink as they age.

Trillium grandiflorum blooms mid to late spring for three weeks.  The seed pod becomes dark with age before bursting open.  Ants spread the seeds because of the pods have elaisomes (food appendages).  If you plant to grow this plant by seed, it takes years to mature into a flowering plant.  Transplanting rhizomes can also take several years to mature.

can form loose colonies in optimum conditions.  This plant likes dappled sun / light shade.  It tolerates more shade as the season persists.  It likes rich, loamy damp soil.  It grows well in rich loamy damp environments making it a great woodland garden choice.

Rarely visited by insects, Ceratina dupla (little carpenter bee) collects pollen and nectar.  Explexia benesimilis (American Angle Shades) and Clepsis melaleucana (Black-patched Clepsis) moth caterpillars have been seen occasionally feeding on members of the trillium family.   Deer do browse on this plant.  When colonized, small mammals can hide under the leaves.