Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.
Search native plant database:
Trillium cernuum L.
Whip-poor-will flower, Whip-poor-will-flower, Nodding trillium
Synonym(s): Trillium cernuum var. macranthum
USDA Symbol: TRCE
Whip-poor-will flower or nodding trillium is 12-18 in. in height. A nodding flower with three wavy petals hides beneath a whorl of three large leaves. The flower is white with deep rose anthers. A three-cornered berried follows the flower, eventually turning red. 1 nodding white flower on a short curved stalk hanging beneath whorled leaves.
The species name, from the Latin cernuus (drooping or nodding), refers to the stance of the flowers. Nodding Trillium is similar to Bent Trillium (T. flexipes), which has flowers with white rather than pink anthers.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Flower:
Purple, Red Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: May
, WV Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
Maritime, w. to Que. and MN,
s. to New England, DE
& uplands to GA
& AL Native Habitat:
Damp, peaty, mostly conifer woods
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moldy, acidic soils.
Conditions Comments: Must have rich, moldy soil and plenty of shade and moisture. Maple leaves make a good wintercover.
BenefitUse Food: EDIBLE PARTS / PREPARATION: Young, unfolding leaves. Wash leaves in warm water to remove dirt and debris. Do not use dish detergent or any type of sanitizer. Cook in boiling, salted water for ten minutes and serve like greens. (Poisonous Plants of N.C.)
Warning: POISONOUS PARTS: Berries and roots. Only low toxicity if eaten. Toxic Principle: Toxicity unknown, but caution because of its relationship with known toxic plants.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
division or seed. Seeds do best when planted outdoors soon after fruits have ripened. Seedlings take many years to bloom. Divide rhizomes in fall. Seed Collection:
Not Available Seed Treatment:
Not Available Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Mt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2012-07-03
Research By: TWC Staff