Above: Drooping Trillium on hill near Council Ring in Madison, Wisconsin on May 10, 2021.
Drooping Trillium - Trillium flexipes
Drooping Trillium is a native plant that is most common in areas with moderate moisture such as woods and forests. It is recognized by a single 3-petaled white flower at the end of a stalk (pedicel) that's up to 4 1/2" inches long at the top of the plant. The flower leans over (or nods down) and may be above or below the leaves
Blooms April - May.
Drooping Trillium (Trillium flexipes is very similar to Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum). And, since the range of these two plants sometimes overlap, identification can sometimes be difficult.
A key identifier is the size ratio of the anthers and filaments on the stamens. With Trillium cernuum, the anthers and filaments are approximately the same length. With Trillium flexipes, ther anthers are much longer than the filaments.
Another differentiation is the flower and stem location. The pedicel (flower stalk) of Trillium flexipes is up to 4 1/2" long and goes up and over the top of the leaves – and then droops over. The pedicel of Trillium cernuum is shorter (between 5/8" - 1 1/4" in length) and is usually under the leaves.
According to the Wisconsin State Herbarium, Trillium cernuum is not found in Dane County where these plants were spotted. Trillium cernuum is found in more northern areas of Wisconsin. However, Trillium flexipes is found in Dane County and many of the identifiers help classify the photos on this page as Trillium flexipes.
Above: Drooping Trillium near Council Ring Spring in Madison, Wisconsin on May 7, 2019. The 4 1/2" long pedicel (flower stalk) is clearly visible.
Other names include: Nodding wakerobin, declined trillium, bent trillium, bent white trillium.
Trillium: Latin tres for three and lilium for lily.
For more information on Trillium flexipes, visit Wikipedia.
Or, visit the: Wisconsin State Herbarium for Trillium flexipes.
Or, visit the: Wisconsin State Herbarium for Trillium cernuum.
Above: Drooping Trillium anther and filament on stamen.
Above: Drooping Trillium on hill near Council Ring (5/10/21)
Above: Drooping Trillium on hill near Council Ring (5/11/21)
Above: Drooping Trillium on hill near Council Ring (5/12/21)
Above: Drooping Trillium on hill near Council Ring (5/18/21)
Above: Trillium flexipes specimen collectedon May 16,1961 in Lafayette County near Belmont Mound.
Above: 1918 Trillium cernuum botanical illustration.