This flower never cares if it rains or snows because it never opens.

Toadshade or Sessile trillium (Trillium sessile) has a stalkless flower of three, small, dark red petals that always remain in the closed position.

Sesslie trillium is usually found in clumps because the plants sprout from rhizomes.  Its true leaves are papery coverings on the rhizomes.  What we call “leaves” are actually three bracts.  Sometimes they are mottled with dark spots as in the photo at this link.

Those in the know say Sessile trillium smells foul to attract its fly and beetle pollinators.

I have never approached close enough to smell it, but I wonder…  Do toads wait in the shade beneath sessile trillium to nab an unsuspecting fly?  Is that why it’s called toadshade?

(photo by Dianne Machesney)

2 thoughts on “Toadshade

  1. Boyce Mayview park in Upper St. Clair has hillsides covered with Toad Trillium along a trail called the Trillium Trail…when you walk the trail while thousands of these flowers are blooming, you definitely notice the “aroma”… the first time we walked it, I thought there was something else causing the scent, but eventually realized it was the flowers. It doesn’t quite smell like something died, but it’s not really attractive either. The flowers are really interesting, though…some are maroon, some are yellow-green, some have mottled leaves, some have green leaves, some have 4 leaves, or 5 leaves….last year on a botanical society walk through the park, someone found one with 9 leaves (but no flower on that one).

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