INFORMATION ABOUT TRITELEIA: THE TRIPLET LILY…
By: Nikki Phipps
Image by scott.zona The genus Triteleia, Triplet lilies, are native to western United States, most commonly in California. They are perennial plants growing from corms. About 14 species are currently recognized in the genus with different systems placing the genus in three different families. Triteleias get their name from the fact that all parts of their flowers come in threes.
Triteleia prefers a warm sheltered site with a light, well-drained soil. They tolerate drought but do best with extra water in dry situations. This normally spring-blooming beauty makes an excellent plant for use in a sheltered border or as a long-lasting cut flower.
T. bridgesii, commonly called Bridge’s Triteleia, has loose umbels of pink to purple flowers on 2-foot high stems. These magnificent blooms open gradually, offering a lovely display for many weeks in late spring to early summer. Grow this particular species in full sun or within the filtered light of trees and shrubs. This species is often found in growing naturally in rocky soils and makes a great addition to rock gardens.
Referred to as Pretty Face, T. ixiodes ‘Scabra’ has light flat yellow flowers with each petal possessing a light brown central stripe. This species is a vigorous grower found in full sun or partial shade.
T. hyacinthine, Milk Lily or White Hyacinth, has dense clusters of showy white flowers with a green midrib on each petal. This species blooms in spring and is found in wet meadows. It is quite adaptable and easy to grow. Flowers are frequently dried and used for winter displays.
California’s most common Triteleia and the easiest to grow, T. laxa, or Wally Basket, comes in many shades of violet. This form also multiplies rapidly from offsets. It is considered to be extremely adaptable, growing even in heavy clay soils.
T. peduncularis has pure white flowers and is considered to be a late bloomer, flowering in late summer. It is somewhat of a ‘wet grower’, associated with seasonal stream edges, it likes early summer water.
T. Rudy appears in late spring to early summer with its unique, white and violet striped-colored blossoms. This rare variety would look impressive in borders, bouquets and naturalized areas.