Jul. 20, 2021

Are trilliums lilies?

We just got my grand daughter a DNA kit that will tell her much about her family's place in the human race. It will be interesting to see how much the information will be open to interpretation.
One reason I say that is that through most of my interest in plants, Trillium has been part of the lily family. In the last couple of decades that has been changing. Partly because of genome analysis, the lily family has been split into numerous smaller families. One of those, in some interpretations, is Trilliaceae, which mostly places Trillium by itself. Of course even that depends on whether you split the genus. Other recent interpretations place Trillium in the family Melanthiaceae. That is the flypoison family, and that's a tough pill for me to swallow. Trilliums as flypoison? Not only does that sound unpleasant, but trilliums and flypoison are very different. I've been telling you all along that trilliums are in the trillium family, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it. Feel free to disagree. And it will be interesting to find out if grandma was told the truth about that Native American!
The trillium you see here is T. kamtschaticum, photographed at Longwood Gardens. It is native to northeastern Asia.