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Trillium undulatum (Painted trillium)
Brundage, Stephanie

Trillium undulatum

Trillium undulatum Willd.

Painted Trillium, Painted Wakerobin

Liliaceae (Lily Family)



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

This trillium has a slender stalk, 8-16 in. high, with a whorl of three, large, blue-green leaves. The flower, white with purple markings, is borne above the leaves on a short, arching stem. Bright-red fruits appear in early fall. This is a perennial plant. The erect, stalked flower has an inverted, reddish purple V at the base of each white, wavy-edged petal.

This is one of the most attractive woodland Trilliums. It is easily recognized by the splash of color in the center of the white flower.


From the Image Gallery

36 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: White, with or without reddish purple marks near base.


USA: CT , GA , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: Que. to Ont., s. to NJ & PA; also uplands to GA
Native Habitat: Deep, acid, sandy woods

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, acid sands.


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. Divide rhizomes in fall.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Michigan native plants for shady, low traffic area
May 10, 2006
Hello, I am looking for a recommendation for a Michigan native groundcover. I live adjacent to the Rouge River watershed and want to buy the right thing. The location is shady, infrequently walked ...
view the full question and answer

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:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

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...
Wildflower Newsletter 1993 VOL. 10, NO.2 - Berry Browsing in the Backyard, Director\'s Report, Essays on Trillium\'s, Natio...

Additional resources

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


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

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