Trillium Ovatum: First Of Spring Bold White Flowers

Trillium Ovatum

Photo Compliments Of Richard Droker

Trillium ovatum, or western trillium is one of the first spring flowers we see in the forested lands west of the Cascades, Trillium is a true jewel.  It typically grows to a height of about 12 to 18 inches and produces beautiful, showy white petals.  This is a clump-forming western native perennial, similar to Trillium grandiflorum, but with narrower leaves. The red-green stems are stalk less, and dark green leaves appear in triads.

Flowers are musk-scented and pure white fading to pink; they are composed of three opposing petals. This plant establishes rhizomes in shady locations where soil is rich and moist.

When choosing trilliums be aware that some plants are protected under law and should not be dug from state or federal lands. At least one species, Trillium persistens, is listed as endangered by the federal government.  Ovatum is widely available through commercial nurseries.

How To Make Your Trillium Ovatum Thrive

Easily grown in rich, humusy, medium moisture, well-drained soil in part shade to full shade.  You will need to water regularly. Rhizomatous plant that is difficult to propagate from seed.

General Trillium Ovatum Information

Pests And Disease

No serious insect or disease problems.


Trilliums are easily propagated by division. Plants can be grown from seed, but it can take up to two years for fresh seed to germinate and another five to seven years for plants to bloom.

Garden Uses

A classic spring-blooming, woodland wildflower. Excellent when massed in a shaded woodland garden, naturalized area or wildflower garden. Mixes well with other spring wildflowers and ferns.  I would not recommend this plant for a perennial border.

Quick Facts

  • Family:  Liliaceae
  • Size: Up to 18 inches
  • Plant Category: Perennial
  • Bloom Period: Mid Spring to late spring
  • Hardiness Zones: Zones 4 to 8
  • Light Range: Deep Shade to partial shade
  • Soil Range: Sandy loam to some clay

Photo Search

Google – Trillium Ovatum Photos

Flickr – Trillium Ovatum Photos

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  1. Beautiful! It’ll be about another month before we see them here.

  2. Happy Easter! Thanks for the information!

  3. I love the little natives in the garden. Trillium is a favorite too.
    Donna recently posted..The Best Garden Photography AdviceMy Profile

    • I think that I am so found of them because when you hike in the mountains here they are one of the early blooming understory plants. They are beautiful on their own, but when you see them you know that trail ahead is clear and the temperatures are spring temperatures.

  4. What an eclectic mix of things you have on your site Charlie – I didn’t know where to look next!
    Cathy recently posted..Car BootyMy Profile

  5. I need to select a new theme and have a tagline for my banner to better explain the focus. It is really about exploring Washington and all that is enjoyable about Seattle, from my perspective of course. There is a heavy dose of gardening, cultural events, and outdoor activities.

    Great input thank you.

  6. I enjoyed this lovely and informational post on the trillium. It’s always a joy to meet another writer/traveller with an interest in botany. I’ll visit again.
    marymageau recently posted..Photo/Poetry ReflectionsMy Profile

  7. This white Trillium is lovely and it is interesting that is carries a scent. Here in NC I’ve been enjoying the dark red flowers of little sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum) growing at a nearby pubic garden, but can’t get close enough to smell them.

  8. How lovely!
    ladyfi recently posted..Plane skiesMy Profile

  9. Trilliums are awesome. There are a few species I find in the woods here in Ohio- they’re a treat to spot!
    Watching Seasons recently posted..Early Spring.My Profile

    • The first time I came across Trilliums was in the understory areas when I hiked on the local mountains. I found that as I went up in elevation I could tell when spring had finally come to that portion of the mountain because the trillium would then bloom.
      Charlie@Seattle Trekker recently posted..CotoneastersMy Profile

  10. We have several patches of Trillium in our yard and when they start to open I know spring is really almost here. Perhaps my favorite plants in the garden.

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