Toadshade Trillium (Trillium cuneatum and sessile)
Toadshade Trillium is also known as Toad Trillium. T. Cuneatum is known (Little) Sweet Betsy and Toad Trillium
T. sessile is known as Toadshade and Sessile Trillium.
Plant Type: This is a
herbaceous plant, it is a perennial which can reach 30cm in
height (12inches). T. cuneatum can be up to 38cm (15 inches) while T. sessile is usually half that
Leaves: The leaves are whorled . The single whorl is always just below the flower and
always has three leaves. Each leaf is entire.
Flowers: The flowers have 3 Regular Parts.
They are deep maroon sometimes green or perhaps yellow. Blooms first appear in early spring and continue into late
spring. The stamens of T. cuneatum are blunt tipped and the flowers smell sweet. The stamens of T. sessile are beaked
at the tip and the flower smells something like raw beef.
Habitat: Rich woods that have never been
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There are two Trilliums known as Toadshade or Toad Trillium. Both
have mottled, stalkless leaves and maroon or sometimes greenish petals and are usually less than 30cm (1') high. The
flowers are not stalked. T. sessile is the smaller of the two with leaves only to about 7.5cm (3") long and
flowers to 4cm (1.5"). It is common in the midwest and as far east as western New York and as far south as
T. cuneatum has leaves to 15cm (6") long and petals to 7.5cm (3") long. It is common from Kentucky and North
Carolina south to Florida.
Similar Species: T. luteum is very much like T. cuneatum except for
having bright yellow or green petals and more mottled leaves. T. stamineum is found on the costal plan and has a
somewhat hairy stem and twisted purple petals.
SeeTrilliums in general Trillium
By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key
is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that
are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first
book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located
with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over
1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important
features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information
such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee
Native Plant Society.
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