Trillium undulatum

Common Name: painted wake robin 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Melanthiaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: April to May
Bloom Description: White with deep pink markings
Sun: Full Shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Heavy Shade


Best grown in rich, humusy, slightly acidic, medium moisture, well-drained soil in dappled shade to full shade. Needs regular watering during dry spells from spring to early summer. Rhizomatous plant that is difficult to propagate from seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Trillium undulatum, commonly called painted trillium, is a herbaceous perennial native to the northeastern United States and southeastern Canada, south through the Appalachian Mountains to far northern Georgia. Can be found in deep, acidic, humusy soils of pine, hemlock, oak and mixed woodlands, as well as rhododendron or laurel thickets. Mature plants will reach around 1-1.5' tall with a similar spread. One or rarely up to three scapes (naked, branchless stems) emerge from stout, underground rhizomes bearing a single whorl of three, ovate, green suffused with maroon, leaf-like bracts that will reach 4.75-7" long and 3.25-7.75" wide. Single, upright to outward-facing flowers are held above the whorl of bracts on a 0.75-2" long pedicel. The three, oblong-ovate petals have undulating margins and are white in color with a contrasting, deep pink, V-shaped mark near the base. Fruits are bright red in color, fleshy, round in shape and reach around 0.5-0.75" wide. Foliage will typically dieback by late summer.

Genus name means "triple lily", in reference to how all the main parts of the plant occur in threes. Linnaeus originally placed this genus in the Liliaceae family.

The specific epithet undulatum means "undulating" or "wavy" and refers to the undulating margins of the petals of this species.

The common name painted trillium refers to the colorful markings on the petals of this species.


Watch for slugs and snails. Potential disease problems include leaf spot, smut and rust. Best left undisturbed.


Woodland gardens.