Painted Trillium – Trillium undulatum

One of the most beautiful Spring flowers to be found in the mountains of West Virginia is the Painted Trillium.  Mainly only found at elevations above 2500 feet, the painted trillium can be seen at the highest forested elevations well into June.  It is characterized by delicate white petals that are “painted” with stripes of pink and purple that extend from the center.  At the right time in Otter Creek Wilderness, you can find hundreds of these trilliums in the damp woods and along the hillsides.  

According to Strausbaugh and Core “Flora of West Virginia”, there are six native trilliums in the state. Trilliums are always characterized by three leaves and a center flower with six stamens.  There are many common names that have evolved over the years for native trilliums.  One of the best known is Trillium grandiflorum, or Large Flowered or White Trillium.  These large white flowers (sometimes fading to pink) can be seen in most areas of the state, and are sometimes found in very large groupings, even along roadways. Another common trillium is Trillium erectum, the Ill Scented Trillium or Wake Robin.  Their flowers are usually dark reddish-purple, but can also be yellowish.  Trillium sessile is sometimes called a Toad Trillium.  It has very unique marbled green leaves and deep red upright flowers.  

For a lovely short video about trilliums, check out this from WVPB’s Edible Mountain:

To learn more about the beautiful native flowers of West Virginia, consider becoming a member of the West Virginia Native Plant Society,, and follow it on Facebook.