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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 ovatum (Pacific trillium)
Cox, Fran

Trillium ovatum

Trillium ovatum Pursh

Pacific Trillium, Pacific Wake-robin, Western Trillium, Western Wake-robin, Coast Trillium, Coast Wake-robin

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


USDA Symbol: TROV2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The 8-20 in. stem of this variable trillium bears leaves in a whorl of three. The flower rises on a short leafless stalk above the leaves and is white, fading to rose at the end of a week. Very large-flowered forms come from the Siskiyous of n.w. CA. This is a perennial plant.

The name Wake Robin indicates that the flowers bloom in early spring, about the time the robin arrives. Only one other species in the West has a stalk between the flower and the leaves, Klamath Trillium (T. rivale), of northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. Giant Wake Robin (T. chloropetalum), which grows in dense patches west of the Cascade Mountains and in the Sierra Nevada, has no stalks at the base of the mottled leaves. Its petals vary from white to maroon; if maroon, usually with a white base. Roundleaf Trillium (T. petiolatum), from eastern Washington and Oregon, has long stalks on the leaves and dark red-brown petals.


From the Image Gallery

35 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 20 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: White or with pink markings. Fades to rosy pink, purple, or dark red.


USA: CA , CO , ID , MT , OR , WA , WY
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: B.C. to s.w. Alt., s. through Coast Ranges to Monterey Co. & Rockies to CO
Native Habitat: Moist, wooded slopes; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Cool, moist soils.
Conditions Comments: Do not let them dry out.


Use Wildlife: Other Showy Insects
Use 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


Description: Rhizome 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 Treatment: 1 month stratification is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

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 on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR


Bibref 928 - 100 easy-to-grow native plants for Canadian gardens (2005) Johnson, L.; A. Leyerle

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


Record Modified: 2023-03-01
Research By: TWC Staff

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