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For Your Garden - April 2009

Warmer temperatures, an increasing amount of daylight and beautiful flowers are just some of the reasons that people enjoy spring. Native wildflowers make wonderful additions to your garden as well as providing food and shelter for native wildlife. Their brilliantly colored blossoms and interesting shapes will make your landscape a showplace. Because they are perennials, you can welcome their presence year after year, and they require very little care.

purple trillium (Trillium recurvatum)

The purple trillium is also known as the purple wake robin. Found statewide in rich woodland soil, it grows from thick roots. Its upright, unbranched stem may be one and one-half feet tall. Three leaves are present in a whorl under the flower. Leaves are mottled and up to four inches long. A single flower blooms at the stem tip. The flower has three maroon petals, each up to one and one-half inches long. The fruit is an ovoid, six-angled dry berry, about three-fourths inch long. Purple trillium blooms in Illinois from late March through late May.

Classification and taxonomy are based on Mohlenbrock, Robert H. 2014. Vascular flora of Illinois: A field guide. Fourth edition. Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale. 536 pp.

Illinois Range

Native Plant Information

For more information about Illinois native plants, visit our Native Habitat Descriptions, Requirements, and Plant Lists page. The following publications are available from the IDNR on our publications page.


​Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae

Illinois Status: common, native