Trillium: Michigan Protected Wildflower

When hiking in or driving near the Upper Peninsula woods, you will sometimes run across Trillium, a three-petal flower usually white, sitting above pointed leaves. Trillium bloom before deciduous trees are in full leaf, and they often form large colonies that carpet the floor near the edges of forests. Trillium emerge in May. The blooms open slowly and may last into early June when they turn purple and fade. Then the above-ground plants vanish, leaving only the underground plant structures to sleep until next year.

These beautiful plants are extremely fragile, and picking the flowers seriously injures the plant by preventing it from producing food for the next year, often effectively killing the plant and ensuring none will grow in its place. For this reason, in some locations, trillium are listed as threatened or endangered; picking these species may be illegal.

If you see trillium and MUST have them, responsibly grown plants are available from nurseries.