Trillium cernuum, Nodding Trillium

Trillium cernuum
photos by Dennis Kalma

Scientific Name:
Common Name:
ITIS Number:
NRCS Symbol:
  Trillium cernuum L.
Nodding Trillium
Liliaceae (lillies)

Plant: 20-40 cm tall; flowering late May to early June; uncommon in our area

Flower: 3 parted; petals white, 1.5-2.5 cm long; sepals lance-shaped, about as long as petals; on flower stalk reflexed below leaves, usually persists after flowering

Leaves: single whorl of 3; leaves symmetrical, wide, 6-10 cm long at time of flowering; branched veins

Habitat: moist to wet woods

Similar Species: Nodding Trillium is the only species with an entirely white flower on an flowerstalk reflexed below the leaves. If flowers are not present: Painted Trillium (T. undulatum) can be distinguished by its stalked leaves; White Trillium (T. grandiflorum) grows in a similar habitat but usually in fairly dense beds; Red Trillium (T. erectum) usually grow as scattered individuals and have somewhat narrower leaves and the fruit/flowerstalk (if it persists) is erect.

AKA: whip-poor-will flower

    Trillium cernuum - range map
Flora of North America