Sunday, April 27, 2014

Trout Lilies

We have huge colonies of these around here.  They are trout lilies - Erythronium americanum. Thousands and thousands of leaves carpeting the floor of the woods - but relatively few blooms.  They are also called Dog Tooth Violets, because their bulb resembles the tooth of a dog. 

We get excited to see them flowering, and they are actually really interesting wildflowers.  

The wiki page says that they can grow in large colonies up to 300 years old.  

According to this page at, they are both medicinal and edible.  The leaves can be eaten as a salad green, but not in large quantities.   They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.   They grow mostly from runners rather than seed dispersal. 

Here's the page from the Lady Bird Johnson wildflower site.  Note:  their picture is wrong because true trout lilies have only one pair of leaves and one flower per plant.    I don't know what variety their picture is of - unless someone picked a bouquet and photoed that. 

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