Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Large-flowered Trillium - Trillium grandiflorum   (Michaux) Salisbury
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Section 5 » Order Liliales » Family Trilliaceae
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Author(Michaux) Salisbury
DistributionThroughout the mountains; occurs in the Piedmont foothills, sparingly east to the west-central Piedmont. Records range east to Rockingham and Davidson counties.

This is a Northeastern species that ranges across eastern Canada, south mostly from the Appalachian Mountains westward. It reaches northwestern SC, northern GA, and northeastern AL.
AbundanceCommon in most of the mountains; uncommon in the Piedmont foothills, but very rare east of the foothills. This is, along with T. erectum, the most numerous trillium species in the mountains, often found daily in a forest walk in that province.
HabitatThis is a trillium of moist, rich forested soils, though it is not restricted to high pH sites like a few rare ones are. It favors Northern Hardwood Forests and Rich Cove Forests, but it can be found in Acidic Cove Forests and a few other montane forest types.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits in July and August.
IdentificationThis is a spectacular species of trillium when in bloom, at least where it occurs in extensive stands, which it frequently does. It is one of the green-leaved (i.e., non-mottled) species of trilliums, and its stem reaches about 12-15 inches tall. Each of the three leaves is rhombic to ovate, about 4-5 inches long and slightly less wide. The pedicel is a few inches high and carries the single 3-petaled flower somewhat erect to a bit sideways. Each flower has long and recurved petals about 2-2.5 inches long, generally larger and longer than on other trilliums. The flowers start out white but quickly fade to pink, so a stand of the plants normally has a mixture of white and pink flowers. Though there are at least 4-5 other white-flowered trillium species in the mountains, this species is quickly identified by its relatively short and narrow sepals, which have an acute tip; other white-flowered species have more obvious and longer/broader sepals. Seldom is this species troubling to identify, as an observer nearly always will see a mix of white and pink flowers in the stand.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)White Trillium (a poor name, as many species have white flowers), Great White Trillium
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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