Trillium erectum L.
Trillium erectum L. var. album Pursh
Trillium erectum L. var. flavum Torr.
Red trillium, purple trillium, stinking Benjamin
Red trillium is native to North America.
Identification: Plants have one to two round stems, are 12-24" (30-60 cm) high, and are found on forest floors. A whorl of three leaves forms atop each stem, each leaf facing straight upward, with a single flower emerging from the center. Leaves are oval or diamond-shaped in shape, wider at the base, tapering to pointed tips, and with even edges. Flowers are usually maroon, but may also be a brighter red, white, or greenish yellow. They have three true petals and three petal-like bracts, arranged to look like a six-petaled flower. These flowers are sometimes called stinking benjamin or stinking willie because they smell like a wet dog. The odor attracts flies that pollinate the plants. Fruits are dark maroon in color, smelling faintly of fruit, rounded to slightly pyramid-shaped, ⅜-½" (1-1.5 cm) around.
See also this Trillium comparison table.
Edibility: Poisonous The leaves contain needle-like calcium oxalate crystals called raphides, part of the plant’s defense.
Trillium erectum on the Connecticut Botanical Society's Connecticut wildflowers site
Trillium erectum in Paghat's Garden
Trillium erectum at 2bnTheWild.com
Trillium erectum on eFloras
Trillium erectum on Wikimedia Commons
Trillium erectum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 9 Jul 2020.