trillium collage by Valerie Ferrier

Last week, I featured a photo of a trillium flower taken by Janine Elliott in a local woodlot. This week, I decided to paint some trilliums. I also decided to look more into the characteristics of this plant, which since 1937, has been the provincial floral symbol of Ontario.

“Found in the forests and woodlands of Ontario, the white trillium blooms in late April and May. The blooms are very sensitive to light, and the white flowers usually bend toward the sun as it moves across the sky. Contrary to popular belief, it is not illegal to pick a white trillium in Ontario. However, picking the flower can seriously injure the plant and it can take years to recover.”

Government of Canada

Trillium Collage, by Valerie Ferrier

The need of a symbol grew out of a desire to mark the graves of service people who died in WWI1. I could not help but think of the current times when all countries are facing a different kind of battle, one against disease.

Trilliums are fragile. It takes two years for seeds, largely dispersed by ants, to grow2. Many once flourishing businesses as well as individuals are experiencing loss. Individual and general recovery will take time.

Picking a trillium flower may damage the plant to the point where it cannot survive the winter3. Many are concerned about been able to weather the economic impact of closures and layoffs. We need to be cautious and supportive.

Trilliums are a favourite food of white-tailed deer4. Despite their fragility, they are able to sustain other life. Although individually we may feel vulnerable, working together we can sustain ourselves and others.

Trilliums are heliotropic. The flowers move to face the sun5. In their early blooming in April and May, they need to gather as much energy as possible. The sun is shining today, I will go out and find some. I hope the people of Ontario and elsewhere will be storing up some positivity too. We still have a way to go.


1, 3, 5 Government of Canada
2, 4 Ontario Parks Blog, Ontario’s Trilliums, Pilar Manorome


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