H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Trillium Erectum - Hardy Perennial
Author: John Wood
Trillium Erectum Described.
Trillium Erectum - Erect Wood-lily; Nat. Ord. Melanthaceæ.
A hardy, tuberous perennial, from North America, whence most, perhaps all, the species of this genus are imported. The peculiar form of the plants gives rise to the generic name. A flowering specimen has on one stem three leaves, three sepals, and three petals; the specific name is in reference to the more erect habit of this species compared with others. Of T. erectum there are several varieties, having different-coloured flowers; the specimens from which the drawing was taken have rich brown or dark maroon flowers. Little groups have a rather quaint look, they being very formal, the flowers curiously placed, and of unusual colour. The flowers are fully 2in. across, or much more, if the petals did not reflex almost their whole length. The sepals of the calyx are exactly alternate with the petals, and remain erect, giving the flower a characteristic quality; and, let me add, they are far more pleasing to the eye than to the sense of smell. The leaves are arranged in threes on the main stem, and that number constitutes the entire foliage of the plant; they are stalkless, oval, but pointed, entire, smooth, and of a shining dark green colour. The specimens from which the illustration was made are 5in. to 6in. high, but their height differs very much with the positions in which they are grown, shade and moisture inducing taller growths. The roots, which are tuberous, are of unusual form—soft swollen root-stocks may be more descriptive of them. Trilliums are now in much favour, and their quiet beauty is likely to create a genuine love for them. Moreover, the different species are distinct, and if grown in cool, shady quarters, their flowers remain in good form and colour for a long time.
They are seen to most advantage in a subdued light, as under the shade of rather tall but not too thickly grown trees. They require vegetable soil, no matter how light it may be, provided it can be maintained in a moist state, the latter condition being indispensable. Trilliums are capable of taking a good share towards supplying shade-loving subjects. How finely they would mix with anemones, violets, Paris quadrifolia, hellebores, and such like flowers! Colonies of these, planted so as to carpet small openings in shrubberies, would be a clear gain in several ways to our gardens; to many they would be a new feature; more showy flowers would not have to be given up for such an arrangement, but, on the other hand, both would be more enjoyed by the contrast. Trilliums increase slowly; propagation may be carried out by the division of the roots of healthy plants.
Flowering period, May and June.
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