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Trillium cuneatum Raf.

Whippoorwill flower

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilyMelanthiaceaeTrillium family
GenusTrillium“Three-petaled lily”
Speciescuneatum“Wedge-shaped,” a reference to the leaves

About plant names...

Sweet Betsy is a North American native.

Identification: Plants have one to five round stems, and are up to 1′ (38 cm) high. Each plant has a whorl of three leaves, each leaf facing straight upward, with the flower emerging from the center of the three leaves. Leaves are 2½-7″ (7-18 cm) × 2½-5″ (7-13 cm), green mottled with pale green, roughly oval or diamond-shaped, wider at the bottom and tapering somewhat at the top, with even edges. Flowers are green streaked with very deep purple, or pure purple, turning even darker with age. They are about 1-2″ (2.7-6 cm) around and ¼-½″ (7-13 mm) long, and have a faint, usually pleasant spicy odor. Fruits are green or with purple streaks, oval, with odd angles or flattened areas, ¾″ (2 cm) × ⅜-½″ (1-1.5 cm).

Another trillium which is nearly identical is Trillium sessile. It differs only in size, being up to 8″ (20 cm) high. See also this Trillium comparison table.

Online References:

in Paghat's Garden




Trillium hugeri Small


Trillium cuneatum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Trillium cuneatum (whippoorwill flower)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 7 × 4½″ (17 × 11 cm)

Trillium cuneatum (whippoorwill flower)

5/15/2010 · Garden in the Woods, Framingham, Mass­a­chu­setts · ≈ 17 × 12″ (44 × 29 cm)


About this map...