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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.

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Trillium gracile (Slender trillium)
Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn

Trillium gracile

Trillium gracile J.D. Freeman

Slender Trillium, Slender Wake-robin, Graceful Trillium, Graceful Wake-robin, Sabine River Trillium, Sabine River Wake-robin

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


USDA Symbol: TRGR6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This lovely trillium has a natural range that essentially follows the Sabine River bottom along the border of Texas and Louisiana, and it requires the conditions found in the pine forests characteristic of that region: loose, moist but well-drained, acidic soil, medium shade, and no disturbance. Its mottled green leaves and inconspicuous blooms appear briefly in spring before disappearing for the rest of the year. In their setting, these plants are quite decorative, but they take years to become established and decades to expand into a colony. Existing plants should be treasured, as they are a sign of undisturbed woodland.


From the Image Gallery

11 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Elliptic , Oblanceolate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute , Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cuneate
Leaf Texture: Smooth
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: 8 to 12 inches high.
Leaf: Variegated light green and dark green.
Flower: Flowers 2 inches.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Yellow , Green , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr
Bloom Notes: Color maroon, turning yellow or yellow-green with age. Some forms with yellow or yellow-green blooms. Up close, flowers have the earthy smell of morels.


Native Distribution: Extreme southwestern Arkansas down Sabine River bottom to southeast Texas
Native Habitat: Shaded pine forests

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained acid sands and loams, especially the kind favored by pine trees
Conditions Comments: Prefers the conditions of a pine forest floor.


Use Ornamental: A fine herb-layer colonizer for the woodland garden. Its presence signifies undisturbed woodland soil.
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Fresh seed. Do not start in greenhouse; plant seed directly in soil.
Maintenance: If grown in its preferred habitat, requires no maintenance, only patience, as it takes years to establish itself and decades to form a colony.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Pictures and sources for black trilliums
June 10, 2008
Do you have pictures and/or sources for Black Trilliums?
view the full question and answer

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1987 VOL. 4, NO.1 - One Million Bequest Announced, Lady Bird Johnson On Celebrating Four Years, Spri...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Trillium gracile in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Trillium gracile in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Trillium gracile


Record Modified: 2023-04-12
Research By: TWC Staff, GDG

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