Trout Lilies

  • Post published:05/13/2011
  • Post comments:2 Comments
Trout lilies

This patch of trout lilies, Erythronium americanum, is growing by the roadside on the edge of a drainage in the woods near my house. Trout lilies are so called because the mottled leaves are thought to resemble the markings on brook trout, but it has other common names: adder’s tongue because of the look of the new unfurling leaves, and dogtooth violet because of the appearance of the white corm, but, of course, it is not a violet at all.

Erythronium americanum, trout lily

Trout lilies can join other spring ephemerals like bloodroot in the garden. They like fertile moist soil and enough sun in the spring to warm the soil in the spring, but shade throughout the rest of the year when they will have dried up and disappeared. They spread most reliably by creating new corms: while they may form a good sized colony they are not at all invasive. If you buy potted plants in the spring for your garden make sure they are nursery-propagated because native wildflowers are under siege everywhere.

I have so little shade in my garden that I really love finding wildflowers in my local ‘wilderness.’


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Lisa at Greenbow

    These are beautiful little flowers. I see them occasionally when out. I would love to have some for my little wildflower patch that I have on the NW side of the house. I don’t find any wildflowers at the nurseries around here.

  2. Pat

    Lisa – it is hard to find wildflower nurseries. I am so glad Nasami, run by the New England Wildflower Society is nearby.

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