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Erythronium americanum Ker Gawl.
Yellow trout-lily, American trout-lily, Dogtooth violet, Eastern trout-lily
USDA Symbol: ERAM5
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
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.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Flower:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
, WV Canada: NB
, QC Native Distribution:
N.B., s. Que & s. Ont., s. through mts. to n. GA
& to n.e. OK Native Habitat:
woodlands & openings
Growing ConditionsLight 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.
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Root Division , Seeds Description:
The easiest way to propagate is by marking the plants in the spring and digging the offsets in late summer. Set these small bulbs at least three inches deep and mulch well. Propagation from seed takes a long time. Collect it in the spring. Seed Collection:
Seeds mature 6-8 weeks after flowering. By then the leaves have withered so it is best to mark the plant while it is in flower. Seed capsules are light green and oval
in outline. Stored seeds quickly lose viability. Seed Treatment:
Seeds should be planted fresh. Commercially Avail:
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Mt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2013-09-09
Research By: TWC Staff