February 20th, 2013. After finding the Trillium cuneatum at the Broad River Wildlife Management Area, we stopped by the Scull Shoals Experimental Forest in Greene County, Georgia, to see if the these were coming up there. This location is a little higher (460 ft above sea level) compared with the Broad River WMA site (425 ft above sea level) although it is affected more by the weather fronts coming from the Artic than the Broad River WMA site.
At this location, a cluster of trilliums grows on the west side of a tree in a sheltered location. Others grow in the open beside the road. We didn’t see any obvious sign of plants in the open and wandered over to the tree.
Trillium cuneatum is known by the common names Little Sweet Betsy, Purple Toadshade, Whippoorwill Flower, and Large Toadshade. It is stalked, had mottled leaves and erect flowers that are purple to brown. The anthers and stamen are a characteristic maroon and gold. This species is found in the eastern United States from Pennsylvania and Illinois south and southeast to Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. In Georgia, they are found more frequently in counties in north Georgia and in other areas in the state.
It wasn’t surprising that only a few trilliums had emerged in this location. The plants
at the base of this tree were not only protected from the cold but were bathed with warm sunshine in the afternoon, making this a slightly warmer location than the open areas where the other trilliums grow. It won’t be long, however, before the other plants also emerge to bloom again.
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- Southeastern Flora: Trillium cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy)
- Native and Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas and Georgia: Trillium cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy, Purple Toadshade, Whippoorwill Flower)
USDA Plants Database: Trillium cuneatum (Little Sweet Betsy)