Beth root: Where in the World
habitat and range for beth root

Trillium is native to temperate regions of North America.

Beth root: A Bit of Botany
a bit of botanical information about beth root

Trillium pendulum is a perennial formerly in the family Trilliaceae or trillium family (which is now part of the family Melanthiaceae). It is a smooth herb, has an erect stem of from 10 to 15 inches in height, bearing three leaves, broad, almost rhomboid, and drooping white flowers, terminal and solitary. Grows in the rich soil of damp and shady woodlands, flowering in May and June.

The official description of the rhizome is oblique, globular, oblong or obconical, truncate below, terminated by a small bud surrounded by a sheath of scarious leaf bases annulated by leaf scars and fissured by stem scars. It is from 0.6 to 5 cm. in length, and from 0.6 to 3.5 cm. in width, more or less compressed laterally, rootlet scars in several concentric rows on the underside in the upper portions. Externally yellowish to reddish brown; internally of a pale yellow; fracture somewhat uneven with a more or less spongy appearance. Odor is distinct; taste is bitter and acrid.

common names
& nomenclature

Trillium is named (from Latin, tri = three) for the three green sepals and three larger petals.

Also known as:
birthroot, coughroot, wake-robin, ground lily, nodding, pariswort, indian balm, rattlesnake root, snakebite, jew's harp plant, milk ipecac, trillium, three-leaved nightshade, indian shamrock, and lamb's quarters

Beth root: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing beth root

Beth root rows best in full to partial shade in woodland areas.

Grows in rich, moist soil that is neutral to slightly acidic.

Trilliums are readily propagated by division. Plants can be grown from seed, but it can take up to two years for fresh seed to germinate and another five to seven years for plants to bloom. The best time to plant and divide trilliums is when they are dormant in late summer and early fall.

In nature, Trillium seeds are spread via ants. Ants are attracted to the fleshy covering of the seed (that contains fats and lipids) and ants can transport the seeds far from the parent plant.

Sow fresh seeds in a seed-starting soil mix and cover with a layer of washed, coarse sand to prevent algae growth. Trillium seed require a double dormancy, a warm-cold-warm period and a second warm-cold-warm period. If seed are planted and left outdoors, they usually begin germination during the second year. Check frequently during dry periods for soil moisture and do not allow the soil to become dry. Depending upon the species, it will usually require 3-5 years before flowering occurs.

Fresh leaves and root (rhizome) can be harvested in Spring.

Note on Collecting Seed or Plants: Some species of trillium are listed as threatened or endangered and collecting these species may be illegal.

The root should be dried fully, can be sliced or ground for future use. Store in a cool, dry place.