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Erect Trillium, Wake Robin
Trillium erectum

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Erect Trillium redErect Trillium white & greenErect Trillium whiteErect Trillium yellow to pink

I included these as examples of confusing Trilliums. The above are all classed as Trillium erectum, which can be a highly variable species. I used a special Trillium key that was prepared by Mr. Tom Patrick of the Georgia Botanical Society, just to be sure, because I was suspicious they might not all be T. erectum - but came back with the same answer.The common Wakerobin has red petals and is known to most of us who have ever seen a Trillium. Trilliums are an area of active discussion among botanists. Depending on the book or source you go to, there are anywhere from 10 to 20 (and counting) species in our area. A good rule of thumb is that if it has an erect flower (not hanging below the leaves) and red ovary, it's Trillium erectum according to the more conservative sources. I've seen the variable cream/green/white ones both in the Standing Indian Basin (Nantahalas) and near Craggy Gardens (north of Asheville). Erect Trilliums bloom from late April through May, sometimes into June.

A note on the nomenclature (naming conventions) on this site: Scientific names and classifications are constantly being argued and changed, and it drives me nuts. Although I use many different sources for knowledge, for naming consistency  I  use the  "Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas" by Radford, Ahles and Bell, 1968 edition. This book is a well-established authority for the plants of our region and I've been using it for years. If for some reason I must use a different source for a particular plant, I will make note of it within the descriptive text. Don't like it? Tough!

Fiona Dudley
986 Reems Creek Road
Weaverville NC 28787


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