Each week we showcase a plant that’s native to the continental United States. This week’s plant is trillium.
Think ‘trillium’ and you might channel the white-blossomed common trillium (Trillium grandiflorum) found throughout Michigan in deciduous forests. Whether you see just one in bloom or a forest floor dappled with T. grandiflorum, your experience will be anything but common.
Of the 43 species of trillium worldwide, 38 can be found in N. America. As many of 10 trillium species have been observed growing in Michigan, including T. cernuum (nodding trillium), T. flexipes (drooping trillium), and T. sessile (toadshade). Three are listed as threatened in Michigan: T. nivale, T. recurvatum, and T. sessile.
Trillium come in many different colors and shapes. Even botanists may struggle to identify one trillium from another since there can be a lot of variation in color forms and different species may hybridize.