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Erythronium albidum (White troutlily)
Loveless, Brenda K.

Erythronium albidum

Erythronium albidum Nutt.

White Troutlily, White Dogtooth-violet, White Fawnlily, Adder's-tongue

Liliaceae (Lily Family)


USDA Symbol: ERAL9

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A low, lily-like plant with elliptic basal leaves which may or may not be maroon-mottled. Sterile 1-leaved plants grow together with fertile 2-leaved plants. A white bell-shaped flower, 1-2 in. long, is borne on 6-12 in. stalk. Petals and sepals are often bent backwards exposing six brown stamens. The name Dogtooth Violet comes from its root, a corm the size of a dog's tooth.

Leaves make an attractive ground cover. Plants multiply rapidly by root offshoots and seed, but can require up to six years before blooming.


From the Image Gallery

26 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.
Leaf: Green mottled with purple.
Flower: Flower 1 inch across.
Fruit: Seeds brown.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Yellow , Blue , Purple
Bloom Time: Feb , Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: White, sometimes tinged pink, blue or lavender abaxially, with yellow adaxial spot at base. In Texas, flowers at the same time as redbuds and wild plums.


USA: AL , AR , DC , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , SD , TN , TX , VA , WI , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: Southern Ontario south to eastern Texas
Native Habitat: Low, deciduous woods; thickets; floodplains; prairies

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Soil Description: Deep, humus-rich loam; acid, neutral, and lime soils okay, moist to dry
Conditions Comments: Adapted to grow in deciduous hardwood forests, so should be planted where it will receive ample sun in early spring.


Use Ornamental: Adds white, early spring blossoms and pleasant, ground-level foliage to the woodland garden.
Use Wildlife: Deer consume leaves.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: No


Propagation Material: 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. Collect seed in the spring and plant immediately. Plants propagated from seed won't bloom until their third or fourth year.
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: None necessary. Plant circa 6 inches deep in loose, humus-rich, woodland soil.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: A leafy mulch in winter and spring is desirable. Clumps of plants that include many leaves and few flowers should be divided. Do not mow until after plant has withered.

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Pineywoods Native Plant Center - Nacogdoches, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Erythronium albidum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Erythronium albidum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Erythronium albidum


Record Modified: 2023-04-11
Research By: TWC Staff

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