Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
5 Facts About Ontario Trilliums

Today’s post comes from Assistant Zone Ecologist Pilar Manorome.

Spring is probably my favorite season as it brings new life to our parks in the form of migrating birds and emerging spring mayflies, giving our forests their long-awaited splashes of vibrant color and contrast.

Most people know the White Trillium, also known as Wake Robin or Large-leaved Trillium, as the provincial flower of Ontario. This is the flower that appears in many of our provincial documents, from the health card to the driving license.

Here are the top five fun facts about this iconic Ontario species:

1. Three is the magic number of trilliums

White Trilliums at ArrowheadPP

They have three broad leaves, three small green sepals, three petals and a three-section sheath. Even the name of your gender, triomessrefers to this phenomenon.

2. Trillium seeds are mainly dispersed by ants.

This method of dispersal is known as myrmecochory (try saying that three times fast!).

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ant on trillium

Ants are attracted to the protein-rich elaiosome of trillium seeds, which they eat after carrying the whole seed to their nests. The actual seeds are not damaged during this process and are then discarded to grow a new plant.

3. White Trillium is the favorite food of White-tailed Deer

White-tailed deerWhite-tailed deer

In fact, many of our provincial parks use annual trillium surveys to understand the white-tailed deer population and its effect on the understory biodiversity of our forest.

4. If you choose a trillium, the plant may not have enough energy to survive through the winter.

As a spring ephemeral, trilliums have a few weeks in the spring to gather as much sunlight and nutrients as possible so they can survive the rest of the year.

If you choose a trillium at the height of its blooming glory, it may not be able to gather enough resources to survive.

5. There are five native species of trillium found in Ontario.

They are: White Trillium, Red Trillium, Painted Trillium, Fallen Trillium and Nodding Trillium.

Painted trillium along Lookout Trail AlgonquinPPpainted trillium

All are found in the understory of rich, deciduous or mixed forests. The Drooping Trillium is actually an at-risk species here in Ontario primarily due to habitat loss and degradation.

Would you like to take a walk through the trillium in spring?

All of these parks have beautiful displays of spring trilliums:

Awenda Provincial Park

Open all year long

trillionsThe Awenda Nipissing Trail

Protecting 2,900 hectares of woodland on the southern coast of Georgian Bay, Awenda offers a wonderful variety of walking routes.

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Earl Rowe Provincial Park

Open all year long

red trillium at Earl Rowe

Just north of Newmarket, Earl Rowe is a lovely place to walk with lovely walking trails, including an accessible paved trail.

Arrowhead Provincial Park

Open all year long

Woman admiring a trillium flower along the Stubb's Falls trail

Located just outside of Huntsville, Arrowhead’s 9 miles of hiking trails are beautiful in the spring.

Rondeau Provincial Park

Open all year long

visitors photographing trilliums

This popular park sits on the shores of Lake Erie and its trails pass through a variety of ecosystems, all beautiful in spring.

Brontë Creek Provincial Park

Open all year long

trilliums growing near the tree

Located in Oakville, Bronte Creek features five great hiking trails that showcase the park’s natural beauty.

Mark S. Burnham Provincial Park

Opens May 5, 2023

trillionsTrilliums on the Mark S Burnham Trail

This Peterborough day-use park is ideal for a quiet walk in the woods or a family picnic.

Six Mile Lake Provincial Park

Opens May 12, 2023


You can see White Trilliums at the Six Mile campground and trails. Visit Hardy Lake Provincial Park, a great place to hike and see the beautiful Painted Trillium along its trails.

Grundy Lake Provincial Park

Opens May 12, 2023


Grundy Lake is home to an abundance of spring wildflowers! Both red and white Trillium are showing up at park campgrounds and trails.

Restoule Provincial Park

Opens May 19, 2023


Red trilliums and white trilliums can be found growing in Restoule, taking advantage of the extra light that reaches the ground before the forest leaves appear in all their green glory.