Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Erythronium americanum


Yellow trout-lily, American trout-lily, Dogtooth violet, Eastern trout-lily


Liliaceae (Lily Family)



Erythronium americanum (Yellow trout-lily)
Patrie, Phil
A pair of brownish-mottled leaves sheath the base of a stalk that bears a solitary, nodding flower, yellow inside, bronzy outside. This colony-forming perennial sends up two, 3-6 in., elliptic, maroon-mottled leaves and a slightly taller stalk bearing a single, nodding, yellow flower. Petals and sepals are bent backwards exposing six brown stamens. Single-leaved, non-flowering plants also occur, either too young or too crowded to flower.

Recognized by its brown-mottled leaves, this is one of our most common spring ephemeral wildflowers, and it is found in sizable colonies. The common name (Dogtooth Violet) refers to the toothlike shape of the white underground bulb. The name Trout Lily (a more suitable name since the flower is not a Violet) refers to the similarity between the leaf markings and those of the brown or brook trout. The White Dogtooth Violet (E. albidum) has narrow, mottled leaves and white, bell-shaped flowers, often tinged with lavender on the outside. It is found from southern Ontario to Georgia, west to Kentucky, Missouri, and Oklahoma, and north to Minnesota. Minnesota Adders Tongue (E. propullans), found only in Minnesota, has pink flowers and produces a small bulb midway up the stem.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Flower:
Fruit:
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , IA , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MN , MS , MO , NH , NJ , NY , NC , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VT , VA , WV , WI , DC
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.B., s. Que & s. Ont., s. through mts. to n. GA & to n.e. OK
Native Habitat: Moist, deciduous woodlands & openings

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, rich soils.
Conditions Comments: Trout lily must be planted where it will receive ample sun in early spring. It makes an attractive seasonal ground cover. A leafy wintercover, left in place in spring, is desireable. Clumps of plants that include many leaves and few flowers should be divided.

Benefit

Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Last Update: 2013-09-09