Come Mother’s Day in central Minnesota, it’s usually a good time to go driving by the woods. On the right year, the forest floors can be a carpet of showy white blossoms easily seen from the road. The trillium were close to a week late this year, but they’re finally out!
Carl Linnaeus invented the name Trillium, impressed by the plant’s “threeness”—three stigmas to collect pollen, three white petals (often fading to pink as they age), three yellow-green sepals, and three leaf-like bracts.
In the spring of 2021, my brother made the crazy discovery of Quadrillium: trillium with four stigmas, four petals, four sepals, and four bracts. A fun anomaly!