Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - June 23, 2011

From: Newton, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Plant identification of a trillium in New Jersey
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have several Trillium grown from one seed source. The plant looks like Trillium cuneatum, but unlike that plant, the stems of these plants -- which seed freely in my Northwest New Jersey garden -- lay on the ground so that the leaves appear to be flush with the soil. I was told this plant was Trillium alabamensis, but that does not appear to be a recognized name. Thoughts? Thank you so much -- I need the correct name for a book caption.

ANSWER:

As well as doing a general "Google" search, I searched in the followed taxonomic databases for Trillium alabamensis:

This name couldn't be found in any of them.  I don't know where your informant got that name but I don't believe it is a valid name for any Trillium species. 

Next, I tried looking for other trilliums that might meet your description.   I'm not sure where you got your seeds and if it was a source for native trilliums from your area, but I did find one native, Trillium sessile (Toadshade), that looks very similar to Trillium cuneatum (Little sweet betsy) but with very short stems.  Here is a description of T. sessile and a description of T. cuneatum from eFloras.org.  These descriptions aren't easy to get through, but T. sessile seems to be, essentially, a shorter, smaller version of T. cuneatum.  Neither are seen to occur in New Jersey on the distribution maps on the eFloras site, but distribuion maps for both T. sessile and T. cuneatum in the USDA Plants Database show them appearing in states adjacent to New Jersey. 

Your best bet for determining the identity of your short trillium, I think, is to contact someone with the New Jersey Native Plant Society.

 

 

More Plant Identification Questions

Plant identification
August 13, 2008 - Bought a plant don't know what it is or how to care for it. It looks like it's dying. Description: light to dark green, long, skinny, rounded trunk, surrounded and topped with grass like blades(top ...
view the full question and answer

Plant Identification
April 04, 2009 - I found a purple berry-like plant in my back yard. It has no leaves, and it is about 5 or 6 inches tall. Do you know what it is called?
view the full question and answer

Plant identification--vine with spiny pods in California
July 05, 2010 - I came across a vine while hiking in Orange County, CA. It didn't have flowers on it but has 3 or 4 inch spiny pods. What is it? The vine itself looks similar to a Morning Glory vine.
view the full question and answer

Identification of night-blooming yellow flower
June 03, 2010 - My Nonna used to have a plant that was a night bloomer. It had leaves that looked like a dandelion, and bloomed a bright yellow flower at dusk. I have never seen anything like it although they were pl...
view the full question and answer

Identification of bush with red berries
March 11, 2013 - bush? grows along fence lines in rural areas; sheds foliage in fall; berries appear; colors vary from red to orange, depending on soil?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.