Species At Risk

Drooping Trillium

(Trillium flexipes)


Drooping Trillium
Drooping Trillium occurrences map


Drooping Trillium is a flowering plant that blooms early in the spring. It grows to a height of 15 to 60 centimetres and has a ring of three leaves around the stem. It produces a long flowering stalk that ends in a single large, white flower with three petals. The flower can be erect but often “droops” over to one side.


In Canada, Drooping Trillium only grows in southwestern Ontario in the warmer climate of the Carolinian forest. There were once six known locations in the province, but today there are only two. A total of 1465 flower stems were reported in 2007. Both populations along the Sydenham River in Middlesex County and along the Thames River in Elgin County are believed to be reproducing successfully.


Drooping Trillium grows on damp sandy soil in mature, deciduous forests that are usually close to a river or stream. It is found in Carolinian forests with Maple, White Ash, Basswood, Hackberry, White Elm, and Blue Ash trees. It shares the forest floor with other native plants including Ostrich Fern, Wild Ginger and Jack-in-the-pulpit.


The greatest threat to Drooping Trillium is habitat loss and degradation caused by urban development or habitat alteration and damage due to recreational activities, such as hiking and ATV use. White-tailed deer eat Drooping Trilliums, which is a problem in areas where there are large deer populations. Invasive species, such as Garlic Mustard, also threaten this species.


The Drooping Trillium is protected under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act and the federal Species at Risk Act. The Provincial Policy Statement issued under Ontario’s Planning Act also prohibits development and site alteration in the significant habitats of endangered species.

What You Can Do to Help the Drooping Trillium

  • The Ministry of Natural Resources tracks species at risk such as the Drooping Trillium. You can use a handy online form to report your sightings to the Natural Heritage Information Centre. Photographs with specific locations or mapping coordinates are always helpful. nhic.mnr.gov.on.ca
  • Report any illegal activity related to plants and wildlife to 1-877-TIPS-MNR (847-7667).
  • Private land owners have a very important role to play in species at risk recovery. If you find Drooping Trillium on your property, you may be eligible for stewardship programs that support the protection and recovery of species at risk and their habitats.
  • Consult the Ministry of Natural Resources when working around forests for information on provincial regulations and best management practices to protect these important habitats. Call toll free 1-800-667-1940 or visit the Ministry website at http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/ContactUs/2ColumnSubPage/STEL02_179002.html.
  • Volunteer with your local nature club or provincial park to participate in surveys or stewardship work focused on species at risk.
  • Invasive species seriously threaten many of Ontario’s species at risk. To learn what you can do to help reduce the threat of invasive species, visit: ontario.ca/invasivespecies ; www.invadingspecies.com; www.ontarioinvasiveplants.ca; and, www.invasivespecies.gc.ca.
  • The Carolinian forests of southern Ontario support an amazing diversity of plants and wildlife, including many species at risk. Carolinian Canada is working to help recover species at risk and their habitats. For more information, visit: www.carolinian.org/SpeciesHabitats.htm.

Did you know?

Drooping Trillium seeds are dispersed by ants and possibly by white-tailed deer. The ants carry the seeds back to their nests, eat the outer casing and then discard the seed.

Did you know?

Drooping Trillium was once thought to have disappeared from Ontario. It was rediscovered in the early 1990s, but is still considered very rare.

Did you know?

Drooping Trillium may take up to 10 years to produce flowers.

The Endangered Species Act

Contact your local ministry office

Often the best source of local information on species at risk is your nearest ministry office. Call with your questions or concerns.