The spring woodland trails throughout Scenic Caves are beginning to burst with hundreds of elegant white Trilliums. Our mixed sugar maple and beech mature deciduous forest provides a perfect environment for these fragile native wildflowers.Trilliums-150x150 (web)

What do Trilliums look like?

The word “trillium” is related to the word for three in both Latin and Greek. Trilliums are a perfect symmetry of threes: three leaves, three sepals, and three petals, which explains why they are commonly called the ‘trinity flower’. A perennial, they are a member of the lily family of plants.

When do Trilliums bloom?

Trilliums bloom from late April to early June before the trees above them leaf and block out the sunlight. This year’s winter and cool spring have delayed their flowering to mid-May, just in time for the Victoria Day weekend. The white trillium flowers bloom for about three weeks and turn pale pink as they age.

The cultivation of trilliums is slow, requiring a minimum of seven years from the time the seeds sprout until the first flower is produced. One should never pick the flowers because it takes so many years to produce one and the plant may take years to recover from the damage, if they regenerate at all. They are protected in many regions with some varieties recorded on Ontario’s Endangered Species list.

Because they are sheltered by trees, insects rather than the wind are responsible for pollination. Trilliums are a favourite food of the white-tailed deer which roam our woods.

Trilliums close up

Trillium is the official flower of Ontario

A white trillium is the emblem and official flower of the province of Ontario and an official symbol of the Government of Ontario. The adoption of an official flower for Ontario in 1937 grew out of a movement during the First World War to choose a national floral emblem appropriate for planting on the graves of Canadian servicemen overseas. Although it was well received, no national flower was ever chosen, but the white trillium was chosen as Ontario’s floral emblem.

Trilliums were used as herbal cures

The early settlers also used various parts of the plant as an herbal cure, principally to control bleeding and as a cure for gangrene.

Trillums at Twin Zip

Where to view Trilliums

While you are hiking the trails, keep an eye out for these splendid jewels of the forest floor. You’ll see patches of trilliums surrounding the Thunderbird Twin Zip Line and Lookout Point. Treasure the fresh feeling of spring which they radiate… and remember not to pick or injure them.