Thursday, April 19, 2007

Trillium Underwoodii

If you told me I could have only one trillium (which would be almost as big a blow to me as if you told me they'd stopped making Cheetos), I'd choose T. underwoodii. It is native to the far S.E.; in the deciduous forests of Alabama Georgia, and Florida, yet is perfectly hardy here, in spite of the fact it's the first trillium out of the ground, usually when there is still a little snow under the trees. It is a small plant, and cute as the dickens, with heavily mottled leaves and a silverish streak down the middle of each leaf. The flower, when it blooms, is usually deep maroon and when it first opens, has a slightly fetid odor. This is one of the sessile trilliums; that is, its leaves are stemless.
There are 39 species of Trilliums, all native to this country (we have four endemic to Iowa, with Trillium recurvatum being very common in our woods). The only part of the country having no native trilliums is the desert Southwest. I grow perhaps half of the available species here in our garden.
There is a nursery in Great Britain called 39 Steps Nursery, which offers trilliums, and I thought the name must very cleverly refer to the number of species of this plant, but the nursery's big specialty really is hellebores, and I decided the name probably more likely is a reference to Hitchcock's famous movie... or maybe the nursery is just on a steep hill.
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Thanks for that link-I'm a trillium freak myself, so the more sources, the better!
That is one unique looking trillium. The leaves look like watermelons ... :)

Really enjoy your blog, nice work!
I see your trilliums are roughly at about the same stage as ours... we just planted 2 of the red ones last year and are eagerly awaiting the opening of the blooms soon. This is definitely a lovely one and please post another pic when it blooms. I was unaware of the fetid odor, so will be looking for that when ours open. As well as our dracunculus vulgaris which hopefully will bloom this year (its 2nd...) Fantastic work here!
Just spotted your comment on 39Steps Nursery and can confirm I called it that because I built it on a 60 degree slope. Love your picture of Trillium underwoodii. My original plant came from Plant Delights Nursery, NC, many years ago. No idea whether they still list it
Stumbled across your blog via google search on Trillium. I tend to keep up with Trillium stuff on the web. *giggle*

Nice photo. T. underwoodii has some of the prettiest leaves!

BTW, "sessile" refers to the flower, not the leaves.
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