Trillium sessile is a small trillium (rarely over 9 cm tall). Toadshade can be distinguished from other trilliums by its single foul smelling, stalkless, flower nestled in the middle of its three leaves. The three maroon petals, maintain a “closed” posture throughout its presence, the petals are occasionally pale green. The leaves are sometimes, but not always mottled with shades of light and dark green. Its species name comes from the Latin word sessilis which means low sitting, and refers to its stalkless flower.
Trillium sessile is most common in rich moist woods but also can be found in rich forests, limestone woods, flood plains, along fence rows. It is persistent under light pasturing. The foul smelling flowers attract its primary pollinators, flies and beetles. The flowers are present from April-June. This plant is clump forming from a thick rhizome. The above ground parts of the plant die back by mid-summer, but may persist longer in areas that do not completely dry out.
Though some accounts indicate that the cooked greens of this plant may be edible as an emergency food, however the entire plant, and especially the root is known to induce vomiting.
Trillium sessile has been used medicinally to treat tumors.It is sometimes cited as having been used as a poultice for boils and as a panacea-like decoction, but this is doubtful as it is attributed to Native American tribes (the Yuki and Wailaki) of California, where this plant is not known to occur.
A poultice of the bruised leaves and crushed roots has been applied as a treatment for boils. A decoction of the plant has been used to treat any kind of sickness. American Indians used this plant as an effective eye medicine. They either squeezed the juice directly onto their eyes or soaked the root and made an eye wash out of it. Indians also used the roots to ease the pain of childbirth
This plant is sometimes used in woodland wildflower gardens. Like many trilliums, T. sessile often does not transplant successfully from the wild.
Known Hazards:The fruits are considered a suspected poison.Toadshade is listed as state threatened in Michigan and state endangered in New York; both states are on the northern edge of its range.
Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider