Species of the Month: White Trillium (July, 2022)

July 29, 2022

Defining Characteristics:
They have three broad leaves, three small green sepals, three white petals, and a three-sectioned seedpod.
Habitat and Seed Dispersal:
White Trilliums are native to northeastern North America and thrive in rich deciduous or mixed wood forests. They prefer moist, well-drained woods and wet areas at low to mid-elevations. When looking for these flowers, look for areas of semi-shade, which can often be found under sugar maple and beech trees in open forests.
Ants are the primary dispersers of trillium seeds. This form of seed dispersal is known as myrmecochory. Ants are drawn to the protein-rich elaiosome on trillium seeds. They carry the seeds back to their nest where they consume the elaiosome, and the actual seeds are not damaged in any way throughout this process.
Did you know?
- The White Trillium was designated as Ontario's provincial flower by the legislature in 1937. Although a national flower was never chosen, the decision to appoint a provincial floral symbol was motivated by the desire to find an appropriate floral symbol to lay on the graves of Canadian service people who died in World War I abroad.
- There are 5 trillium species in Ontario: White Trillium, Red Trillium, Painted Trillium, Drooping Trillium, and Nodding Trillium.
White Trilliums and EBC:
White trilliums can be found on many of EBC's nature preserves! Take a look at our story map by clicking here and choose a nature preserve to explore!
white trillium