Trillium recurvatum L.C. Beck

Purple Trillium, Bloody Butcher, Purple Wake Robin

Trillium recurvatum plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - To +30cm tall, erect, glabrous, herbaceous, greenish above, purplish near base, simple, from short rhizomes.

Leaves - In a single whorl of 3(rarely 4) at the apex of the stem, with a short but distinct petiole. Petiole to 1cm long, glabrous. Blade elliptic-ovate, glabrous, entire, acute, mottled above, light green below, to +12cm long.

Trillium recurvatum leaf

Inflorescence - Single terminal sessile flower.

Flowers - Petals 3, erect and converging over the stamens, maroon (rarely yellowish), glabrous, tapering to a claw at base, acute, 2.7-3cm long, 9-10mm broad. Stamens 6, adnate at base of petals and sepals, erect, converging over the pistil. Filaments maroon, 3mm long, glabrous. Anthers dark purple, 7-8mm long, falcate. Ovary superior, 3-sided but each side parted so appearing 6-angled, 4mm long(tall), glabrous, green, 3-locular. Styles 3, purple, slightly spreading, 3.5mm long. Placentation axile. Seeds (ovules) many. Sepals 3, recurved, lanceolate, glabrous, entire, 2-3cm long, 7-10mm broad, green.

Trillium recurvatum flower

Trillium recurvatum stamensStamens close-up.

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Mesic bottoms, slopes, ravines, mesic forests.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - T. recurvatum is common in the most southern and eastern counties of Missouri but is infrequent elsewhere in the state. The plants prefer shaded areas and moist soils. A similar species, T. sessile L. has leaves which are sessile and sepals which are spreading to erect at anthesis. T. sessile is much more common in Missouri.

Photographs taken at Big Spring State Park, Carter County, MO., 4-15-01, and at Prairie Fork Conservation Area, Callaway County, MO., 4-22-04.