Their single white flowers are simple with three triangular to oval petals, and their leaves are a whorl of three green sepals at the top of the stem with the flower perched on top.
The white flowers turn pink with age.
As the fruit matures, they will bend close to the ground and split open, exposing clumps of sticky seeds. Each seed has a large bump, called an elaiosome, that ants find irresistible. The ants carry the seeds back to they nests, where the elaiosome is eaten and the seed discarded well away from the parent plant.
It can take up to two years for the seeds to germinate and at least six to seven years before they will flower. Some Native peoples used the trillium roots and rootstocks as medicine, and the young leaves are said to make excellent salad and cooked greens. But once the leaves are picked the plant dies, it would be a shame to kill such a beautiful plant.
They are native in Quebec, Ontario and the eastern United States. Trilliums prefer partial shade, rich, well drained soil that is neutral to slightly acid and full of organic matter. They are often wild dug, so make sure your source guarantees plants are nursery propagated.
A wonderful addition to the woodland garden.