White Trillium (G. Spooner)

You may recognize the trillium from your Ontario Drivers Licence, or on your Ontario Health Card.  That’s because the White Trillium is Ontario’s provincial flower.  The White trillium was named Ontario’s flower in 1937.  The White Trillium has three large white petals, and can be found in shaded forest areas.  The Latin name for the White Trillium isTrillium grandiflorumtri meaning three, referring to the petals, grandiflorum meaning large flower, which is where it gets its nickname, Large-Flowered Trillium.

These Trilliums are not always white with three petals, sometimes they have 4 petals! This is very rare – about as rare as finding a 4 leafed clover.  The petals of the White Trillium turn pink as the flower gets older.  This form is sometimes mistaken as a completely different flower.  The Trillium can also have a green streak running down the middle of each petal in varying thicknesses.  This means that the plant has been infected by a virus, and eventually, the virus causes the plant to become unable to produce seeds.

The White Trillium is very sensitive to sunlight and the center of the flower is normally pointed at the sun.  It looks like these dainty flowers are looking at the suns progress throughout the day.  In large patches of Trilliums, all of them will be facing the sun.

This beautiful flower is quite a sight to behold, but don’t satisfy the urge to pick the flower, or even a leaf or petal, as without these, the plant will be unable to have any means to produce energy and it will die.  If you see a White Trillium, just take pictures and admire with your eyes, and please, do not touch.

– A.Young (2014)

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