Trillium Species, Wakerobin, Stinking Benjamin

Trillium erectum

Family: Melanthiaceae
Genus: Trillium (TRIL-ee-um) (Info)
Species: erectum (ee-RECK-tum) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Light Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)


USDA Zone 2a: to -45.5 C (-50 F)

USDA Zone 2b: to -42.7 C (-45 F)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:

Pale Pink

Scarlet (dark red)

Pale Green

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

Seed Collecting:

Seed does not store well; sow as soon as possible


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Cottondale, Alabama

Juneau, Alaska

Suffield, Connecticut

Mount Prospect, Illinois

Mc Dowell, Kentucky

Madison, Maine

South China, Maine

Sumner, Maine

Oakland, Maryland

Dracut, Massachusetts

Foxboro, Massachusetts

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Redford, Michigan

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Cornish, New Hampshire

Newport, New Hampshire

Tilton, New Hampshire

Wilmot, New Hampshire

Ballston Lake, New York

Crown Point, New York

Willsboro, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Glouster, Ohio

Salem, Oregon

Tidioute, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Cookeville, Tennessee

Brattleboro, Vermont

Chester, Vermont (2 reports)

Newport Center, Vermont

Williamsville, Vermont

Leesburg, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Aug 14, 2014, FlyPoison from Rock Hill, SC (Zone 7a) wrote:

A very difficult plant to grow in the piedmont of SC/NC but well worth the effort. Prefers wetter/rich soils.


On Jul 15, 2012, caseyann from Livermore Falls, ME wrote:

I grew up finding the stinkin' benjamin in the woods behind my home in Livermore Falls, Maine. Back in the early 90s I remember even picking the flower as a child and having my mother tell me I couldn't bring it in the house because it smelled like rotting meat! I would never pick this endangered flower now ( although interestingly, I grew up with an avid florist mother, and we kids knew not to touch pink lady slippers and indian pipe because they were protected. )


On May 16, 2010, jleigh from Ballston Lake, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

I recently saw a ton of the purple variety growing happily while on a hike in the Adirondack park. I am glad to see this plant, which I have seen listed as endangered in many states, thriving in this area.
I really wanted to take some home to my wooded garden, but in some states even picking the flowers is illegal, so I did not.

I do have to say they smelled horrible though... So perhaps they are better enjoyed from a distance anyway.


On Apr 11, 2008, Malus2006 from Coon Rapids, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

For those of us who live in alkaline or neutral regions, this species, Trillium erectum, which is often sold second only to Trillium grandiflorum in volume of trillium sold, is much more difficult to grow as T. erectum loves acidic soil. My grandma which have clay soil near a big old crabapple (now sadly dying) have a good size patch of it while in my yard many attempts to introduce them, includes even under evergreen trees had failed - the last planting have a few plants surived - they were almost unnoticed because they have white petals but a closer look last year confirms them to be T. erectum due to their smaller petals and darker flower center. I have never found a red one yet.

Edited Late May 2008: I have three huge trillium that after they opened their buds (I though... read more


On Oct 11, 2007, milkbonehappy from Chester, VT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very common to find this plant in the woods near my house in Vermont. Lovely flower but relatively brief bloom time in spring.


On May 2, 2007, mgarr from Hanover Twp., PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

A true plant for the shade woodland garden. It will self-sow very slowly because it takes 7 years from seed germination to a mature flowering plant, loves rich, acid soil.


On Jun 4, 2004, joanvt from Brattleboro, VT wrote:

This is wild in my mother-in-law's back yard. It's intermingled with the myrtle and a few plants pop up every year.


On Jun 3, 2004, MeggMopp from Redford, MI wrote:

I have found this in my shady back yard in Redford, MI


On May 13, 2002, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This is one of the most common trillium species on the eastern coast and can be found growing wild in moist, rich woods. The common name "Stinking Benjamin" refers to the foul odor of the flower which attracts carrion flies for pollination. Seeds develop inside a red, oval berry in late summer and early fall.