The white trillium, floral emblem of Ontario

Trillium grandiflorumThe white trillium is the floral emblem of Ontario. It is on my driver’s licence, and appears in many other places as the logo of the government of my native province. This beautiful three-petal wildflower grows in deciduous forests throughout eastern North America, particularly where maple trees are common, and is a harbinger of spring. We often say that when the trilliums come in it is the start of black fly season, and when they go out it is the start of mosquito season!

If you look carefully at the tip of the right-most petal of the trillium in this photograph, you will see a bothersome black fly — quite apropos. I actually found this specimen on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. Because the maple-dominated deciduous forests in which trilliums thrive are threatened by urbanization, the trillium is listed as “vulnerable” by the province of Quebec. A web page on the vulnerable status of the “trille blanc” (in French) is here.

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