Taking a bow

Trillium erectum, aka Wake Robin, Stinking Benjamin or simply Red Trillium, is a unique spring ephemeral that prefers moist, deciduous woodlands. Be advised never to sniff this one, as its odor is fetid and is pollinated by carrion flies. However, its rich, crimson petal color is a beauty to behold and really stands out in the forest. It forms a berry which is toxic to humans, but eaten by birds and other wildlife.

About Eliza Waters

Gardener, writer, photographer, naturalist
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77 Responses to Trillium

  1. arlingwoman says:

    Wow, these are gorgeous. I’ve only ever seen the white ones in the woods.

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Lisa. In the woods around all we see is red. Conversely, we rarely see the white ones unless they are planted from a nursery. I have a rare yellow one I bought and put in my shade bed, but it is not as robust as these wild ones. I admire the mottled foliage of the ones found further south and into the midwest.

  2. I have never seen red trilliums either. Lovely photos. The white trillium is the official flower of Ontario!

  3. Val Boyko says:

    Such lovely light in the woods … Was it sunny? I’m asking because the sun hasn’t come out in pa for nearly a week. I miss it 🌞

    • Eliza Waters says:

      This was Saturday, which was sunny and quite a beautiful spring day – the clouds didn’t come in until sundown. It’s been drizzly ever since. Hope we get a little sun soon – I get antsy after 3 gray days in a row!

  4. MK says:

    I especially like that 2nd shot, with the veins of the flower & leaves, and flecks of pollen.

  5. I’ll look out for one

  6. seedbud says:

    Beautiful shots Eliza. I was working near the river yesterday and saw my first ones of the season. Hope you get some sunshine today!

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Thank you, Catherine. I guess we here in the northeast are lucky to have these beauties, the feedback is that most have never seen one. But I don’t ever see the white, which are more widespread.
      No sun today, just drizzle, which, of course, the plants love!

  7. Kathy Sturr says:

    Love! I may order some of these from Prairie Nursery next year (you are feeding my addiction!) … this year was all about Virginia Bluebells.

  8. Julie says:

    I’ve never seen a red one– beautiful!

  9. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says:

    What a beautiful flower. I saw them in Kentucky when we visited there last year. I don’t think I had ever seen them before that. Beautiful shots, Eliza.

  10. Beautywhizz says:

    It’s a lovely looking flower, I have never seen one.

  11. Laurie Graves says:

    In central Maine, we mostly have the red ones, but they are not in bloom yet. And you are so right. Lovely to behold, not so lovely to smell. “Putrid” is the word that immediately comes to mind.

  12. I am going out to do some morel hunting today – I will keep an eye out for this (but not my nose!).

  13. Oh, lovely. One of my favourite spring flowers and so fragile. There is a spot in a park in Toronto where you could find them and we would try to visit every year. I don’t think these grow in the Montreal area or at least I haven’t found it yet if they do…(Suzanne)

  14. Robbie says:

    what a beauty!!!!! I love read in the garden:-)

  15. Robbie says:

    red, my keyboard was sticking..but wanted to let you know …spring is here!!!!

  16. Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! I want to hug it (despite your warning about the fetid smell! 🙂 )

    • Eliza Waters says:

      Being naturally curious, I smelled one once. 🙂 I fairly snorted and trust me, won’t do that ever again! Beauty best loved from afar. 🙂

  17. dorannrule says:

    Beautifully dangerous!

  18. AmyRose🌹 says:

    Wow!!! I don’t have this one, and I have never seen one either. I’m glad I don’t because I have too many critters running around. ❤

    • Eliza Waters says:

      I don’t think it is toxic to animals, and humans did use it medicinally, but in a ‘hair of the dog’ way. It is lovely to see in the forest.

  19. Ann @Ann Edwards Photography says:

    not sure that I have come across a Trillium before, but will be on my guard if I do now! The flower is a super colour.

  20. Just gorgeous. I planted some in the front garden in the autumn, but a few weeks later there were just holes where they had been. 😦 , so I am living vicariously through you

  21. Alice Pratt says:

    So pretty, all these spring blooms…the leaves look similar to Jack-in-the Pulpit.

  22. natalyadrian says:

    Ok, if I ever see it, I’ll admire it but won’t smell it! Deal!

  23. Heather says:

    I have always wanted to discover one of these in the woods! I will still probably smell it 😉

  24. I have never seen the red ones. Delightful

  25. Widdershins says:

    Beautiful … to paraphrase – never judge a flower by its colour! 😀

  26. timkeen40 says:

    Truly awesome photography. A great gift you have for sure.

  27. Brian Skeys says:

    A very elegant Trillium, I have one that is on my blog, and the scent is sweet. Does if vary between varieties?

  28. Jane Lurie says:

    Such pretty flowers and I love your caption, Eliza.

  29. ladyfi says:

    What pretty flowers! Lovely shots.

  30. Karen says:

    I love the flowers and leaves of this plant Eliza, great shots. Unfortunately I accidentally trashed your comment on my post – so here is my reply Thank You Eliza!

  31. Kris P says:

    I’ve always admired these flowers but, never having seen one up close and personal, I didn’t know they stank! Thanks for the warning!

  32. Maria F. says:

    What an amazing slower, it even looks prehistoric.

  33. Pauline says:

    What a beautiful flower.

  34. That’s an interesting little flower, very pretty but quite an unusual shape. It makes me think of some other flower dressed up as an orchid. 🙂

  35. Beautiful portraits of these lovely wildflowers!!!

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