Prairie trillium

Prairie trillium (Trillium recurvatum), found in every county in Illinois, has become one of my favorites. A bulb-based lily family member that likes shade and humusy soil in hardwood woodlands, it has three mottled or speckled leaves and a small, delicate dark red flower that appears in mid spring and never fully opens. A shy plant that needs some help to keep the lilies of the valley, scilla, and other bulb-based competition away. Supposedly hard to get going, but reportedly will self-colonize and form large masses given the right conditions. I have just one or two specimens and they seem content to be orphans. Sometimes this is called red trillium but that name is more properly applied to the similar but taller, different (Trillium erectum).