Trillium (Wake Robin; Birthroot)

Trillium is a genus of about 50 species of flowering perennial herbs in the family Melanthiaceae, native to Asia and North America.
This shade-loving plant has three leaves, three petals and three sepals in perfect symmetry. Its unique shape makes it attractive and well recognizable! Trilliums are often fragrant and bloom in spring and summer. They are great in shaded beds and borders, as well as in woodland gardens.

Name meaning

The genus name “Trillium” is derived from the Latin word “tres”, which means “three” and refers to three leaves, three petals and three sepals of the plant.

The common name “Wake Robin” comes from the fact that Trilliums bloom so early, even before robins return to their nests.

The common name “Birthroot” comes from its use as a stimulant to induce labour.

Trillium symbolism

Trillium symbolizes consciousness, embodiment and mutuality. It is a symbol of elegance and precision.

It also represents fertility. In history, it was considered a sacred female herb that facilitated childbirth and cured infertility.

Interesting facts about Trillium

Trillium in the USA

In some states of the USA, removing Trillium from the wild is considered illegal. Many species are protected or endangered and should not be harvested from the wild.

Is Trillium Poisonous?

Trillium is considered poisonous to pets, livestock and humans. Eating this plant causes digestive problems and vomiting.

Benefits and Uses

The plant has many medicinal properties, including antiseptic, alterative, astringent, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, ophthalmic, tonic and pectoral.
It can be used to treat cough, asthma, ulcers, hemoptysis, menstrual problems, uterine hemorrhage, lung disorders and skin irritations. It is also used to improve male sexual function and boost low libido. Besides its use as an aphrodisiac, some women also use it as uterine stimulant to induce labour.

Trillium is considered edible, but it doesn’t mean all parts are edible. The leaves are sometimes cooked and eaten. However, the roots and berries should be avoided.

Trillium Plant Data