Trillium sessile L.

Wake Robin

Trillium sessile plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - Aerial stems to +20cm tall, from short rhizomes, herbaceous, erect, purplish (at least at base), glabrous.

Leaves - Whorled, 3 per plant, sessile, ovate to elliptic, acute to acuminate, glabrous, mottled with silver-green above, to +7cm long, 3.5cm broad, entire.

Trillium sessile leaf

Inflorescence - Single sessile flower terminating the aerial stem.

Flowers - Petals 3, reddish-maroon (rarely green), lanceolate, attenuate, to +2.5cm long, 8mm broad, glabrous, erect. Stamens 6, +/-1.5cm long. Filaments purple, 2-3mm long. Anthers long, yellow-brown. Styles 3, purple. Ovary superior, 3-6-angled, 3-locular. Placentation axile. Sepals 3, green with reddish margins, lanceolate, to +2.2cm long, glabrous, spreading to erect.

Trillium sessile flowerTypical red flower.

Greenish flower.

Trillium sessile flowerYellow-green flower.


Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Bottoms, moist slopes, ravines.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This fine species can be found mainly in the lower 2/3 of Missouri. The plant is fairly common in the habitats mentioned above.
The plants with green flowers are known as form viridiflorum Beyer and are more rare than the red-flowered form.
The flowers of this species have the slight aroma of dead animal tissue as to attract flies and beetles as pollinators. The plant is edible but should not be picked as most plants in this genus are having a tough time competing with man for living space.

Photographs taken at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, Boone County, MO., 3-27-04, and at Rock Hill Park, Columbia, MO., 4-18-04.