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A Celebration of Trilliums

In April 2008, Mt. Cuba Center and its sponsoring partners hosted the Trillium Symposium, a two-day conference dedicated to education about the science, conservation, and horticulture of Trilliums of Eastern North America. The Trillium Symposium attracted over 200 guests and speakers. Experts presented on a wide array of topics, including the biology of trilliums, conservation challenges, and issues impacting their propagation and production.

To learn more about the guest speakers and their presentations, please click on the links below.

Symposium Partners:

 

Introduction to North American Trilliums

presented by Frederick W. Case, Jr.

Systematics, Evolution, and Relationships of Trillium

presented by Alan S. Weakley, Ph.D.

The Conservation of Trilliums: A Georgia Sampling

presented by Thomas S. Patrick

Propagation of Trillium at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (Poster)

presented by Valerie C. Pence, Ph.D. & Brian F. Jorg

What Do You Mean, 7 Years!?!

presented by William Cullina

Commercial Trillium Propagation

presented by Tony Avent

A Different Approach to Woodland Gardening

presented by James B. McClements, M.D. (retired)

Trilliums are Skotomorphogenic

presented by John Gyer

Obsession and Exploitation: The Cultural History of Trilliums

presented by C. Colston Burrell

Overview

Connections between trilliums and humans have existed since indigenous peoples employed their medicinal powers. Today, trilliums are valued more for ornament than for ointment. They are celebrated in song and rhyme, featured on stamps, and their perfect symmetry has been abstracted into logos, symbols and art. Their name is exploited to sell products and housing developments. C. Colston Burrell explores our shifting and often obsessive relationship with the showiest of spring ephemeral wildflowers.

About C. Colston Burrell
C. Colston Burrell

C. Colston (Cole) Burrell is a garden designer, photographer, naturalist, and award-winning author. His published works include the newly released Hellebores: A Comprehensive Guide, Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants, and A Gardenerís Encyclopedia of Wildflowers. Cole is principal of Native Landscape Design and Restoration which specializes in blending nature and culture through artistic design.

Keen Field Observation - 99% of Successful Trillium Culture

presented by R. Mark Rose

Overview

Good field observations can help you successfully cultivate trilliums in your garden. Mark Rose shares his knowledge acquired from many years of paying attention to slope position, soil pH, moisture needs, elevation preferences, light preferences, and rhizome needs. He also discusses seed propagation of the genus.

About R. Mark Rose
R. Mark Rose

A Royal Horticultural Society of London Fellow, Mark Rose is the director of Flannery Fork Botanical Garden in Greensboro, North Carolina and a member of the North Carolina Plant Conservation Board. Mark operated a commercial tropical orchid nursery for over forty years. He has been cultivating native orchids, trilliums, lilies, and Hexastylis since 1957. His primary interest is in shade gardening and spring ephemerals.

Trilliums are Skotomorphogenic

presented by John Gyer

Overview

Are trilliums truly dormant? Just because we do not see life on top of the soil does not mean our illusive beauty is not active. In fact, during the summer, rhizome apical buds are growing. John Gyer calls this skotomorphogenic - growth that happens in the dark. He discusses how understanding this characteristic allows us to tackle propagation and cultivation of Trillium species.

About John Gyer
John Gyer

John Gyer and his late wife, Janet, have spent over 38 years collecting and growing plants on their farm in New Jersey. They have contributed to many journals including The Bulletin of the North American Rock Garden Society, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, the Appalachian Mountain Club, and the International Plant Propagatorsí Society. John received a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester and worked for 30 years in Mobil Oil’s research laboratory.

Trilliums - Cultivation and Companion Plants in a Pennsylvania Garden

presented by John T. Lonsdale, Ph.D.

Overview

Dr. John Lonsdale discusses the methods he uses to cultivate and propagate trilliums native to the eastern US in his USDA Zone 6b garden. He describes siting as well as natural and artificial methods used to grow the early-rising sessile species from the Deep South and the pedicellate species that favor cooler, higher mountain habitats. He also highlights the cultivation and propagation of companion plants such as Hepatica, Erythronium, Arisaema, and Cypripedium.

About John T. Lonsdale, Ph.D.
John T. Lonsdale, Ph.D.

A transplant from the United Kingdom, Dr. John Lonsdale now gardens in Exton, Pennsylvania where he specializes in woodland plants. His extensive plantings include Trillium, Helleborus, Fritillaria, and Erythronium species. He regularly lectures and is an active member of many horticultural groups including North American Rock Garden Society, Alpine Garden Society, The Crocus Group, and others. He holds B.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Microbiology and a Ph.D. in Microbiology.

A Different Approach to Woodland Gardening

presented by James B. McClements, M.D. (retired)

Overview

Providing favorable conditions such as soil, light, moisture, and pH is crucial to the successful cultivation of trilliums and their companions. Here, James McClements discusses the use of an innovative type of bed system that provides the proper habitat and eliminates some of the problems of competition.

About James B. McClements, M.D. (retired)
James B. McClements, M.D. (retired)

Dr. James McClements has been an avid woodland gardener for the past 25 years. He has traveled extensively from his home in Dover, Delaware to visit Trillium habitats from New England to Florida, several areas of the Pacific Northwest, as well as the private gardens of several National Collection holders in the United Kingdom. Together with Mike Slater, he co-founded Trillium-L in 1997, an Internet listserv which has grown to 300 subscribers.

Trial and Error with Trillium Micropropagation at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

presented by Ron Gagliardo

Overview

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has been working to find new ways to propagate native plants such as trilliums in their plant tissue culture lab. Ron Gagliardo began informal experiments with nearly a dozen Trillium species in 2001 and after several years of laboratory trial, and with the hard work of several volunteers, is growing many in vitro propagated plants in the nursery. Here, he presents a synopsis of their work in successful multiplication, rooting, and soil acclimation.

About Ron Gagliardo

Ron Gagliardo is Tissue Culture Lab Manager at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. After receiving a M.S. degree in Botany at North Carolina State University, he joined the staff at the Atlanta Botanical Garden in 1993. He is using micropropagation techniques as a commercial tool to produce threatened carnivorous plants and take collection pressure off natural populations.

International Perspective on Gardening with Trilliums

presented by Carl Denton

Overview

Carl discusses the nature of the National Trillium Collection, its content, management, and accessibility to the public. He describes his method of growing trilliums as well as a disease problem he has encountered.

About Carl Denton
Carl Denton

Carl Denton is the holder of the Scientific National Trillium Collections in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. He is a trillium enthusiast who grows many of his plants in pots and also in a glasshouse. Over the past 20 years, he has kept card and computer records on every trillium plant or seed sown.

Commercial Trillium Propagation

presented by Tony Avent

Overview

Trilliums are one of the most coveted wildflowers by gardeners. Yet this beloved wildflower has truly been an illusive beauty for the nursery trade, often taking years to reach blooming size. How can the commercial nursery meet a growing public demand? Tony Avent, owner of the very successful mail order business, Plant Delights Nursery, discusses his work with commercial trillium production from seed.

About Tony Avent
Tony Avent

Tony Avent is the owner of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina (the home of plants with an attitude) specializing in rare and unusual perennials. Tony has also founded the Juniper Level Botanical Gardens, a display and research garden with 17,000+ accessions. His focus is to determine and showcase the diversity of ornamental plants that will thrive in USDA Zone 7b. He has devoted much effort to the collecting and growing of the genus Trillium and currently has 30 species in cultivation.

What Do You Mean, 7 Years!?!

presented by William Cullina

Overview

Even for propagators used to germinating and growing slow or recalcitrant species from seeds, Trillium species are particularly daunting. William Cullina, who has worked with trilliums for twenty years, presents the unique challenges of seed and vegetative propagation of this genus. He also highlights some of the progress made at the New England Wild Flower Society Nurseries.

About William Cullina
William Cullina

William (Bill) Cullina is the Director of Horticultural Research at the New England Wild Flower Society and a freelance author, teacher, photographer, and consultant. He holds degrees in plant science and psychology and has been working in plant propagation and nursery production for over twenty years. Bill has authored a number of horticultural references including: The New England Wild Flower Society Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada; Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines; and Understanding Orchids.

County Distribution of Southeastern Trillium Species (Poster)

presented by Charles Wright

Overview
About Charles Wright

Charles Wright is from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Propagation of Trillium at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden (Poster)

presented by Valerie C. Pence, Ph.D. & Brian F. Jorg

Overview
About Valerie C. Pence, Ph.D. & Brian F. Jorg

Valerie C. Pence, Ph.D. is the Director of Plant Research for Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Brian F. Jorg is the Manager of Horticulture at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden.

Huntsville Botanical Garden: Trillium Research and Trillium Gardens (Poster)

presented by Harold Holmes

Overview
About Harold Holmes

Holmes Trillium Research (HTR)

Micropropagation of Trillium grandiflorum Flore-plenoĆ­ (Poster)

presented by Sherry Kitto, Ph.D.

Overview
About Sherry Kitto, Ph.D.

Sherry Kitto, Ph.D. is a member of the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Delaware.

The Conservation of Trilliums: A Georgia Sampling

presented by Thomas S. Patrick

Overview

The American Southeast provides habitat for the vast majority of Trillium species. In Georgia, where 22 taxa have been documented, rare trilliums are under threat from habitat destruction caused by the encroachment of industrial and housing developments. Additional threats include poaching, overabundance of game animals, invasive exotic plants, and a lack of funding for land acquisition. Conservation activities are diverse, require many disciplines, and are essential to perpetuate wild populations.

About Thomas S. Patrick

Tom Patrick received his B.S. degree from Syracuse University and M.S. from Cornell in plant taxonomy. After nearly a decade working on rare plant inventories and taxonomy of the ìTrillium erectum complex,î he accepted a position as botanist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources in 1986. He has studied the flora of Georgia extensively, especially monitoring sites for two rarities, Trillium reliquum and Trillium persistens.

Ecology and Biogeography of Trillium in Eastern North America

presented by Alan S. Weakley, Ph.D.

Overview

Where Are the Trilliums and Why Are They There?

The greatest diversity of Trillium is in eastern North America, and specifically in the Southeastern U.S. Though thought of as generally montane, many southeastern Trillium taxa are distributed strictly or mainly in the Coastal Plain. In the Southeastern U.S., species and varieties of Trillium have notably local endemic distributions, suggesting relictual fragmentation and restriction, and/or local differentiation of species. Here, Dr. Alan Weakley compares the distribution and habitats of eastern North American Trillium taxa with those of the rest of the regional flora.

About Alan S. Weakley, Ph.D.

Dr. Alan Weakley is the Herbarium Curator at the North Carolina Botanical Garden and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Curriculum of Ecology and Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He holds a B.A. in Botany and Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina, and a Ph.D. from the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. Dr. Weakley serves on the Flora of North America board and is a cofounder of the Carolina Vegetation Survey. Dr. Weakley is the author of The Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Surrounding Areas.

Systematics, Evolution, and Relationships of Trillium

presented by Alan S. Weakley, Ph.D.

Overview

For centuries the taxonomy of Trillium has been challenging and controversial at all levels from family to variety, and challenges and controversies remain. Trillium and its relatives Kinugasa, Paris, Daiswa, and Pseudotrillium are plants of the North Temperate forests, with a fragmented and relictual distribution in North America and Eurasia. The relationships of these genera to one another and to more distantly related groups have been the subject of recent phylogenetic analyses of morphological and molecular data. Within Trillium, ongoing taxonomic issues have led to the recent and pending naming of additional taxa, in the Trillium pusillum complex, the pedicellate trilliums, and the sessile-flowered trilliums. Dr. Alan Weakley reviews these recent and current developments.

About Alan S. Weakley, Ph.D.

Dr. Alan Weakley is the Herbarium Curator at the North Carolina Botanical Garden and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Curriculum of Ecology and Department of Biology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.  He holds a B.A. in Botany and Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina, and a Ph.D. from the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University. Dr. Weakley serves on the Flora of North America board and is a cofounder of the Carolina Vegetation Survey.  Dr. Weakley is the author of The Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Surrounding Areas.

Introduction to North American Trilliums

presented by Frederick W. Case, Jr.

Overview

Fred Case, world-renowned trillium expert, shares his expertise on trillium morphology, classification and distribution. Fred discusses the biology of 38 North American species, including both Western and Eastern Groups. Fred also talks about hybridization in the Trillium erectum alliance.

About Frederick W. Case, Jr.
Frederick W. Case, Jr.

Fred Case is a teacher, botanist, author, and an Arthur Hoyt Scott Medal Award recipient. He is responsible for the book Trillium (Timber Press, 1997), which he co-authored with his wife Roberta Case. This book is considered by many to be the authoritative work on this genus. Other publications by Fred Case include Orchids of the Western Great Lakes Region and Wild Flowers of the Northeastern States.