Trillium erectum, also known as wake-robin, red trillium, purple trillium, Beth root, or stinking Benjamin, is a species of flowering plant native to the east and north-east of North America. It is a Spring ephemeral, an herbaceous perennial whose life-cycle is synchronised with that of the deciduous forests where it lives.
This plant grows to about 40 cm (16 in) in height with a spread of 30 cm (12 in), and can tolerate extreme cold in winter, surviving temperatures down to −35 °C (−31 °F). Like all trilliums, its parts are in groups of three, with 3-petalled flowers above whorls of pointed triple leaves. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals and crystal raphide, and should not be consumed by humans. The flowers are a deep red colour, though there is a white form. The flowers have the smell of rotting meat, as they are pollinated by flies.
The plant takes its name "wake-robin" by analogy with the Robin, which has a red breast heralding spring.
- "Trillium erectum". NatureServe Explorer. NatureServe. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
- Dickinson, T.; Metsger, D.; Bull, J.; & Dickinson, R. (2004) ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario. Toronto:Royal Ontario Museum, p. 79.
- Stinking Benjamin: A trillium that by any other name would smell so sweet, adirondack almanack
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "RHS Plant Selector - Trillium erectum". Retrieved 7 June 2013.
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