Giant White Wake Robin (Trillium albidum)
“What a pleasure, seeing the year’s first trilliums in March or April, just when the winter rains feel like Forever!” — Daniel Mathews, Cascade-Olympic Natural History
We couldn’t agree more! We sighted the largest patches of Giant White Wake Robin we’ve ever seen, just a few yards from a pond in the Camassia Nature Preserve yesterday. Unlike the more common ovatum, the albidum trillium flower is sessile, meaning it has no stalk, the flowers emerge directly from the leaves. We mistakenly thought these plants were immature ovatum when we first encountered them, aided by the lack of information on this trillium species in our wildflower guides. The lack of stem makes them quite striking when massed (see bottom photo).
We have also found this more unusual, larger ‘Wake Robin’, at several Willamette Valley haunts, Camassia and Graham Oaks around Portland, Mary’s Peak towards the coast from Corvallis, and Mt. Pisgah outside of Eugene. It appears to be confined to low elevations valleys largely in western Oregon and northern California. The lovely 1954 botanical print by Edith F. Johnston and the central photo below may actually be trillium sessile, commonly known as Toadshade, another family member with more mottled leaves most common in the midwest and also found in isolated spots in our region.
Camassia Nature Preserve, West Linn, OR, 4/2019.