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Trout Lily

Erythronium americanum

Trout lily flowers are yellow on the inside and bronze-colored on the outside. (jclucier/Flickr)
Trout lily flowers are yellow on the inside and bronze-colored on the outside. (jclucier/Flickr)

Trout lily is a native perennial plant with nodding yellow flowers that bloom in early spring.

Appearance:

  • A single, nodding flower at the top of a short stalk
  • Flowers are yellow on the inside and bronze-colored on the outside
  • Flowers have six petals that curve upward away from six brown stamens
  • Flowers bloom in March-May
  • Mottled brown and green leaves at the base of the plant. Young plants have only one leaf, while mature adult plants have two leaves.
  • Grows to 6-8 inches tall

Habitat:

  • Found in moist, rich areas such as meadows, clearings and deciduous woods
  • Grows in partial shade

Range:

  • Grows throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed

Feeding:

  • Sprouts and flowers in early spring, before new tree leaves grow and block out the sun
  • Plants grow from a white bulb that has a tooth-like shape
  • New plants usually grow when underground rhizomes spread and form colonies
  • Mature plants also spread via seeds. Ants scatter the seeds, eating part of the seed and leaving the rest to germinate.

Other Facts:

  • Also known as dogtooth violet or adder’s tongue
  • The name “trout lily” comes from the plant’s mottled leaves, which look like the markings on brook trout
  • Some trout lily colonies are 200-300 years old
  • Trout lily leaves and bulbs were once eaten for medicinal purposes as a contraceptive

Sources and Additional Information:




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