drooping trillium

(Trillium flexipes)

Conservation Status
drooping trillium
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland


Drooping trillium is a 8 to 16 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to several scapes from a single, short, stout rhizome.

There is no central stem. What appears to be the central stem is actually a slender, hairless scape.

There are no above-ground leaves. There is a whorl of 3 leaf-like bracts at the top of the scape. The bracts are broad, diamond-shaped or egg-shaped to almost circular, 2¾ to 10 long, 2¾ to 10 wide, and stalkless. They taper gradually to a narrow point at the base, and taper gradually to a sharp point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. They are medium green and do not have red or maroon tones.

The inflorescence is a solitary flower hanging on a stalk above or below the bracts. The flower stalk (pedicel) is 1½ to 4¾ long, straight, and stiff. It declines to about 90° or more.

The flowers are about 1½ wide. There are 3 sepals, 3 petals, and 6 stamens. The sepals are green, lance-shaped to egg-shaped, and as long or slightly shorter than the petals. The petals are thick-textured, creamy white, not two-colored, ¾ to 2 long, and to 19 16 wide. They are lance-shaped or broadly egg-shaped and come to a point at the tip with straight sides along the tip. They are usually flat or bent backward in the upper half. However, this character is an unreliable field mark, as photos on this page indicate. The veins on the upper side of the petals are conspicuous, appearing engraved. The stamens are to long. The filaments are white, thin, and less than ½ the length of the anthers. The anthers are creamy white or yellow and 316 to 11 16 long There is no floral scent.

The fruit is a rosy-red to purplish, fleshy, juicy berry. It is ½ to 1 in diameter, egg-shaped, pyramidal at the top, strongly angled, and contains many seeds.




8 to 16


Flower Color


Creamy white


Similar Species


Nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum) pedicel is shorter, no more than 1¼ long, and is curved. The petals are thin-textured, not thick, and are not conspicuously veined on the upper surface. The sides of the petal along the tip are convex, not straight. The anthers are shorter, 1 16 to ¼ long, and are pinkish-or grayish-lavender, not creamy white or yellow. The filaments are about as long as the anthers.


Wet to moderate moisture. Woods.




April to May


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Liliopsida (monocots)  


Liliales (lilies, supplejacks, and allies)  


Melanthiaceae (bunchflowers)  
  Tribe Parideae  


Trillium (Trilliums)  
  Subgenus Trillium  



Trillium declinatum

Trillium erectum var. blandum

Trillium erectum var. declinatum

Trillium gleasonii


Common Names


bent trillium

declined trillium

drooping trillium

nodding wakerobin

nodding wake-robin













Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



On plants: the stalk of a single flower in a cluster of flowers. On insects: the second segment of the antennae. On Hymenoptera and Araneae: the narrow stalk connecting the thorax to the abdomen: the preferred term is petiole.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.



An erect, leafless stalk growing from the rootstock and supporting a flower or a flower cluster.



An outer floral leaf, usually green but sometimes colored, at the base of a flower.

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