Trillium is TRI LILLIUM. They have three broad leaves, three petals, three small green sepals, three-sectioned seedpod. All are found in the understory of rich, deciduous, or mixed forests.
We know five native trillium species found in Ontario:
White Trillium / Trillium grandiflorum
Red Trillium / Trillium erectum
Nodding Trillium / Trillium cernuum
Painted Trillium / Trillium undulatum
Drooping Trillium / Trillium flexipes
The Drooping Trillium is actually a species at risk here in Ontario primarily due to habitat loss and degradation.
Initially the Trillium genus was placed in the family Liliaceae, which by 1981 had grown to about 280 genera and 4,000 species. In 1998, the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group assigned the genus Trillium (of about fifty flowering plant species), along with genera Paris and Pseudotrillium, to the family Melanthiaceae.
This dispersal method is known as Myrmecochory.
Ants are attracted to the protein-rich elaiosome on the seeds of trilliums, which they eat and transport them away from the parent plant. The actual seeds are not harmed during this process, and are later discarded to grow a new plant.
Trilliums have a few short weeks in the spring to collect as much sunlight and nutrients as possible to be able to survive for the rest of the year. Picking parts off a trillium plant can kill it even if the rhizome is left undisturbed.
Most people know of the White Trillium, Ontario’s provincial flower,
The white trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) serves as the official flower and emblem of the Canadian province of Ontario. It is an official symbol of the Government of Ontario and etc. The flower is known as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium.
Photography Mik Herman for Geonmagazine