Common Names in English:
Little Sweet Betsy, Bloody Butcher, Cuneate Trillium, Large Toadshade, Purple Toadshade, Sweet Betsy, Sweet Betsy Trillium, Toadshade, Wake Robin, Whip-Poor-Will Flower
; rhizomes subterranean
, horizontal or semierect, monopodial, unbranched or weakly branched, elongated to thick and fleshy
, compressed-shortened, distal end tapered to point
, apex bearing large terminal
cataphylls, and contractile, adventitious, ringed roots
. Scapes arising from terminal bud or axil of adjacent
(subterranean in T. petiolatum), erect
, straight (decumbent
, S-shaped in T. decumbens and T. reliquum). Bracts on mature
in whorl of 3, uniformly green or mottled
or sessile, venation
palmate-reticulate, with 3-5 major veins, ovate
. Inflorescences terminal, 1-flowered. Flowers: some totally to partially syncarpous
or sessile; sepals persistent
, 3, distinct
, green, maroon, or with maroon markings, foliaceous, oblong
, ovate, or lanceolate, alternating with bracts; petals shriveling after anthesis
, typically 3, erect, spreading
, or recurved, distinct, red, purple, pink, white, yellow, green, or combination
of these, ovate or obovate to linear
, sometimes clawed; stamens 6, alternating in 2 whorls of 3, erect, incurved
, or divergent; filaments
mostly short, basally expanded; anthers
2-locular, ± equaling or longer
than filaments, dehiscence extrorse
, or introrse
flat between (or in some species extending beyond) anther sacs
; ovary superior, proximal
portion 3-locular, 3- or 6-lobed, some axile
, some parietal
or a combination of both, distal portion forming stigmas; stigmas often persistent, 3, spreading, twisted, or erect, sometimes connate
, sessile or with very short style, linear to subulate
. Fruits capsular
, fleshy with obscure
sutures, not or rarely dehiscent
along sutures, each shed as unit
through abscission of thin-walled cells
. Seeds many, elliptic
, 2-4 mm, bearing white or yellowish, large, oily, myrmecochorous elaiosome (aril). x
= 5. 2n = 10 in all American species recorded.
Species 43: North America, Asia.
Trillium is traditionally divided into two subgenera , which overlap in some characters. Botanists consider subg. Trillium to be the more primitive group, because the genera considered closest to Trillium all have pedicellate flowers, as does subg. Trillium, except for one variety of T. pusillum that bears sessile to only barely pedicillate flowers.
There is not yet agreement among taxonomists about the relationships among the species within the genus. Certain ones, such as Trillium recurvatum and T. lancifolium, clearly are closely related, but the interrelationships of many others are not obvious. In the absence of definitive studies, the species are listed here alphabetically within subgenera. Several species of Trillium contain sapogenins that have been used medicinally as astringents, coagulants , expectorants , and uterine stimulants, hence the common names birthwort and Indian balm, and T. erectum, T. grandiflorum, and possibly other species have been utilized commercially as beth root (W. B . Zomlefer 1996). Fruits, seeds, and rhizomes of trilliums are generally considered to be poisonous. Deer, however, feed voraciously on T. grandiflorum plants, especially in early spring . Gardeners and wildflower enthusiasts, over most of the temperate zones of the world, consider trilliums to be among the most beautiful of wildflowers. Species of Trillium exhibit few and obscure structural differences, making key construction difficult (J. D. Freeman 1975).
Species Trillium cuneatum
Rhizomes horizontal, brownish, short, thick, praemorse
, not brittle.
Scapes 1-5, 1.6-4.5 dm, smooth
to rough near bract attachment. Bracts
held well above ground
, sessile; blade
green to purplish green, weakly
to strongly mottled
, mottling becoming obscure
with age, ovate
occasionally ovate-orbicular with margins
overlapping, 7-18.5 ×
7-13 cm, usually widest below middle
, not glossy, base
margins of distal 1/3 convex-curved to apex, apex acuminate to acute.
Flower borne upon bracts, erect
, odor usually pleasant, faint, spicy,
reminiscent of odor of bruised sweetshrub (Calycanthus) leaves, occasionally
musty or unpleasant; sepals widely spreading
, variably green, purple-streaked
to all purple, oblong-lanceolate, 27-60 × 7-13 mm, margins
entire, apex rounded to acute; petals long-lasting, erect, ±
connivent, ± concealing stamens and ovary, maroon, maroon-purple,
brownish purple, bronze, greenish purple, clear green, yellowish
lemon yellow, or 2-colored, yellow distally with purple
base, in occasional clones, flowers open or quickly fade to bright
copper bronze, the particular color pattern
is consistent from year
to year, fading to browner tones with age except in yellow or green
forms, not spirally twisted, shape
quite variable across range
, 4-7 × 0.9-2.7 cm, thick-textured, with widest
portion at or above middle, narrowed to usually cuneate basally,
not clawed, margins flat, entire, apex acute, rounded-acute to obtuse
stamens erect, straight, brownish purple-green, 11-18 mm; filaments
brownish purple, 1.5-3.5 mm, widest at base; anthers
brownish gray, 7-14 mm, dehiscence latrorse
or occasionally introrse
straight, scarcely (0.5 mm or less) if at all extended
beyond anther sacs
; ovary maroon, ovoid
to vase-shaped, weakly 6-angled
or -ridged when mature
, 12-15 mm; stigmas erect, slightly diverging
to spreading, distinct
, purplish gray, linear-subulate to thickly
, 4-15 mm, fleshy
. Fruits green or with purple streaks, ovoid,
very obscurely angled
apparent, 2 × 1-1.5
or pulpy, fleshy, not juicy. 2n = 10. [source]
Trillium cuneatum has escaped locally and become established in Michigan and other states. It is most frequent on the Ordovician limestone-derived soils of southern Kentucky and Tennessee, and is perhaps the most vigorous and certainly the largest of the eastern sessile trilliums. Numerous , mostly unnamed color forms occur. Plants from the lower piedmont of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, considered by most botanists to be of this species, have smaller, narrower petals than specimens from northeastern Alabama northward to Kentucky, and they are therefore sometimes difficult to place with certainty. [source]
Flowers: Bloom Period: January, March, April. • Flower Color: bronze, brown, cream, tan
Size: under 6" tall.
Rich, mostly upland woods , especially limestone soils, also less calcareous sites, occasionally found in old fields , ditches, or coal-mine tailings ; 50--400 m .
Culture: Space 6-9" apart.
Soil: Minimum pH: 5.6 • Maximum pH: 7.5
Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Light Shade.
Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b. (map)
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Superorder: Lilianae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Subclass: Liliidae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Spermatopsida () - Brongniart, 1843
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Trillium cuneatum var. luteum (Muhl.) Ahles • Trillium viride var. luteum (Muhl.) Gleason
: Raf. Publication
: Autik. Bot. 133 1840
Name Status: Accepted Name .
Last scrutiny: 09-Jul-2004
Members of the genus Trillium
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 58 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
T. albidum (Giant Trillium) · T. angustipetalum (Narrowpetal Wakerobin) · T. catesbaei (Bashful Wakerobin) · T. cernuum (Nodding Trillium) · T. chloropetalum (Giant Wakerobin) · T. chloropetalum (Torr.) Howell var. chloropetalum (Torr.) T.J.Howell (Giant Wakerobin) · T. chloropetalum giganteum (Giant Wakerobin) · T. chloropetalum var. chloropetalum (Giant Wakerobin) · T. chloropetalum var. giganteum (Giant Wakerobin) · T. cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy) · T. decipiens (Chattahoochee River Wakerobin) · T. decumbens (Trailing Trillium) · T. discolor (Mottled Wakerobin) · T. erectum (Red Erect Trillium) · T. erectum f. albiflorum (White Erect Trillium) · T. erectum var. japonicum (Stinking Benjamin) · T. flexipes (Bent Trillium) · T. foetidissimum (Mississippi River Wakerobin) · T. gracile (Sabine River Wakerobin) · T. grandiflorum (Great White Trillium) · T. grandiflorum f. polymerum 'Flore Pleno' (Double-Flowered American Wake-Robin) · T. grandiflorum Gothenburg pink strain (Great White Trillium) · T. grandiflorum 'Flore Pleno' (Trillium) · T. kamtschaticum (Trillium) · T. kurabayashi (Wake Robin) · T. kurabayashii (Giant Purple Wakerobin) · T. lancifolium (Lanceleaf Wakerobin) · T. ludovicianum (Louisiana Wakerobin) · T. luteum (Lemon Trillium) · T. maculatum (Spotted Wakerobin) · T. nivale (Dwarf White Wakerobin) · T. ovatum (Pacific Trillium) · T. ovatum oettingeri (Oettinger's Trillium) · T. ovatum 'Roy Elliott' (Western Trillium) · T. parviflorum (Smallflower Wakerobin) · T. persistens (Persistent Trillium) · T. petiolatum (Idaho Trillium) · T. pusillum (Dwarf Wakerobin) · T. pusillum var. ozarkanum (Ozark Wake-Robin) · T. pusillum var. pusillum (Dwarf Wakerobin) · T. pusillum var. virginianum (Virginia Wakerobin) · T. rectum (Stinking Benjamin) · T. recurvatum (Bloody Butcher) · T. reliquum (Confederate Wakerobin) · T. reliquum f. luteum (Relic Trillium) · T. rivale (Brook Wakerobin) · T. rugelii (Ill-Scented Wakerobin) · T. sessile (Common Toad Shade) · T. simile (Jeweled Wake Robin) · T. stamineum (Blue Ridge Wakerobin) · T. sulcatum (Barksdales Trillium) · T. texanum (Texas Trillium) · T. tschonoskii (Tschonoskis Wake Robin) · T. underwoodii (Lonbract Wakerobin) · T. undulatum (Painted Trillium) · T. vaseyi (Sweet Wakerobin) · T. viride (Wood Wakerobin) · T. viridescens (Tapertip Wakerobin)
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- Bartonia;proceedings of the Philadelphia botanical club. .. 62 2004 Philadelphia, Philadelphia Botanical Club, Academy of Natural Sciences. url p. 113, p. 155.
- Bulb propagation and trade study WWF url p. 33.
- Erigenia: journal of the Illinois Native Plant Society. Carbondale, Ill.: The Society, 1982- url p. 47.
- National list of scientific plant names. [Washington, D.C.]: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service, 1982- url p. 418.
- Technical report: Illinois natural areas inventory / by the Department of Landscape Architecture, Univeristy of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and the Natural Land Institute, Rockford, Illinois. Urbana: Dept. of Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois and Natural Land Institute, 1978. url p. 195.
- Berg, R. Y. 1958. Seed dispersal, morphology, and phylogeny of Trillium. Skr. Norske Vidensk.-Akad. Oslo, Mat.-Natkurvidensk. Kl. 1958(1): 1-36.
- Case, F. W. and G. L. Burrows. 1962. The genus Trillium in Michigan: Some problems of distribution and taxonomy. Pap. Michigan Acad. Sci. 47: 180-200.
- Case, F. W. and R. B. Case. 1997. Trilliums. Portland. Gates, R. R. 1917b. A systematic study of the North American genus Trillium, its variability and its relation to Paris and Medeola. Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard. 4: 43-92.
- Kato, H. et al. 1995. Evolutionary biology of Trillium and related genera (Trilliaceae). 1. Restriction site mapping and variation of chloroplast DNA and its systematic implications. Pl. Spec. Biol. 10: 7-30.
- Kazempour Osaloo, S., F. H. Utech, M. Ohara, and S. Kawano. 1999. Molecular systematics of Trilliaceae I. Phylogenetic analyses of Trillium using matK gene sequences. J. Pl. Res. 112: 35-49.
- Samejima, K. and J. Samejima. 1987. Trillium Genus Illustrated. Sapporo.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 9, 2012.
Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 22, 2007:
- Biodiversity Heritage Library NamebankID: 2662668
- Catalogue of Life Accepted Name Code: Kew-290650
- Global Biodiversity Information Facility Taxonkey: 13754705
- Globally Unique Identifier: urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:542532-1
- Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Number (TSN): 43056
- International Plant Names Index (IPNI) ID: 542532-1
- U.S.D.A. Plant Symbol: TRHU2
- Zipcode Zoo Species Identifier: 64318
- Frederick W. Case Jr. "Trillium". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 51, 54, 56, 90, 91, 97, 101, 110, 113, 150. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- "Trillium cuneatum". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 95, 108, 111, 112, 116. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]