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Trillium erectum

Trillium erectum L.

Trillium erectum L. var. album Pursh

Trillium erectum L. var. flavum Torr.

Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae (from Stearn’s Botanical Latin)
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilyMelanthiaceaeTrillium family
GenusTrillium“Three-petaled lily”
Specieserectum

About plant names...

Red trillium is native to North America.

Identification: Plants have one to two round stems, are 12-24" (30-60 cm) high, and are found on forest floors. A whorl of three leaves forms atop each stem, each leaf facing straight upward, with a single flower emerging from the center. Leaves are oval or diamond-shaped in shape, wider at the base, tapering to pointed tips, and with even edges. Flowers are usually maroon, but may also be a brighter red, white, or greenish yellow. They have three true petals and three petal-like bracts, arranged to look like a six-petaled flower. These flowers are sometimes called stinking benjamin or stinking willie because they smell like a wet dog. The odor attracts flies that pollinate the plants. Fruits are dark maroon in color, smelling faintly of fruit, rounded to slightly pyramid-shaped, ⅜-½" (1-1.5 cm) around.

See also this Trillium comparison table.

Edibility: Poisonous Skull & Crossbones The leaves contain needle-like calcium oxalate crystals called raphides, part of the plant’s defense.

Online References:

Trillium erectum on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site

Trillium erectum in Paghat's Garden

Trillium erectum at 2bnTheWild.com

Trillium erectum on eFloras

Trillium erectum on Wikimedia Commons

Trillium erectum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 16 Aug 2013.

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Trillium erectum (Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin)

9/20/2014 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, MA

Trillium erectum (Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin)

4/15/1979 · Memphis, TN · By Tim Chandler

Trillium erectum (Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin)

4/30/2013 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 6 × 9" (16 × 23 cm)

Trillium erectum (Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin)

6/18/1979 · ME

Trillium erectum (Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin)

4/30/2013 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 9 × 7" (23 × 17 cm)

Range:

About this map...