Trout Lily

9 04 2009

Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum) are a North American native perennial and can be found growing in damp, open woodlands. A member of the Lily family, this edible and medicinal plant is cultivated by seed or transplanting of the corm or bulb in fall. (From seed to bloom take up four to seven years and only plants that have two leaves will flower—and then they may not bloom every year! Now that would require more patience than I think possess!)

Tiny one inch flowers bloom from March to May and grow best in a deciduous woodland environment with filtered light in the spring. It is said to get its name from the speckled leaves, which mimic the speckled skin of a trout.

According to Stanwyn G. Shetler, Curator of Botany Emeritus at the National Musem of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution:

“the species spreads not only by seeds but also by offshoot runners from their corms, forming extensive clonal colonies, carpeting the forest. In one study the colonies were found to average nearly 140 years in age and were as old as 1300 years.”

You can read Shetler’s article, first published in the Bulletin of the Virginia Native Plant Society, at this link here.

Learn more about Trout Lilies in this article by Sarah Coulber for the Canadian Wildlife Federation at this link here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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6 responses

10 04 2009
burstmode

wow…this flower would take a while to get to know…

10 04 2009
montucky

Excellent photo! It’s nice to see the Trout Lily. We have a close relative here, the Glacier Lily that will bloom in a few more weeks.

10 04 2009
paulie

Thanks for reminding me how much I like those! I just noticed your remarkable collection of links.
Best,
P.
http://sicluceatlux.wordpress.com

10 04 2009
edvatza

Very nice, Cindy. As always, you captured the essence of the flower so well. And I see this flower comes with a little friend. I’ve not seen this particular Trout Lily but I have seen something else, closer to a Bellwort, called a Trout Lily around here.

10 04 2009
cindydyer

Thanks so much, Ed. These are very tiny flowers, just about 6-7 inches off the ground, so consequently, I was stretched out horizontally on my side to get the shots. I was holding my breath to keep the camera steady and after three shots, here comes a bug around the bend of one leaf. Perfection! That made the shot really worthwhile. Gotta love the bugs when they bless us with their appearance!

14 04 2009
chloë

i read your comment on here; the flowers never look so tiny because the micro is soooo good ❤
i like the bokeh

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