The Trouble With Trilliums

Trillium FlowerThe rare and elusive trillium is in bloom in my neighbor’s yard. This is enough to make me glad, but even better, the trillium bulb I planted in my yard last year is growing. No blooms yet, but I am just glad that I have been found worthy of its blessing.

Trilliums are a native Ohio wildflower that, ironically, is damn near impossible to find in the wild. Much is brought up in the news about hunting animals into extinction, but poor endangered plants, like the trillium, are largely ignored in this arena. Lusty plant hunters ready to make a quick buck have nearly decimated the natural population.

If you decide that you would like to purchase a trillium, be sure to make sure that your plant supplier sells only “captive” grown trilliums or trilliums harvested during wildflower rescue operations. If your plant supplier can’t tell you whether or not the trillium they are selling has been responsibly grown or harvested, do the right thing. Put that wallet firmly back in your pocket and walk away. If modern politics has shown us anything, it is that money speaks louder than words.

Trilliums are actually wild cousins to the lily family. Though there is a small group of botanists who are arguing that the trillium deserves its own family.

The name trillium comes from the fact that the plant is made up of threes. Three leaves, three petals, three sepals, three part ovaries.

The trouble with trilliums is that they are to pretty and too hard to grow, which to a gardener translate to the holy grail. But we gardeners need to be strong. Pay the extra money to buy these beauties from growers instead of harvesters. Otherwise we may never see them in the wild again.

2 thoughts on “The Trouble With Trilliums
  1. Cathy Mc on

    I’m happy to say they still grow wild in the woods near Olympia, Wa. I came upon a beautiful little ‘village’ of them this spring. They live there still. 🙂


  2. Will Brickman on

    Thanks to your article, in my search for Trillium, I discovered that the unknown wilflowers that are so dense along the back of my proprty are trilliums. I’m glad I can help preserve our state wildflower.


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