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Trout Lily




(Erythronium americanum v. albidum)


Common names: Fawn Lily or White Fawn lily, Trout Lily, Dog's-tooth Violet, Adder's-tongue.


Spring flowering herbaceous plant / perennial
Filtered light. Slow spreader.


Habit: Earliest-blooming member of the lily family. Gets it name from the speckled leaves that resemble the speckled skin of a trout. Plant has basal leaves only that can reach 8 inches in length, 1.5 inches wide. There are always two leaves which are entire, shinny and molted with dark splotches. The flowers have 6 regular parts (3 petals and 3 sepals and are up to 2 inches wide. Color is yellow with reddish brown streaks sometimes white. Blooms first appear in late winter and continue into early spring. The yellow flowers are streaked with reddish lines. The flower opens each morning and closes each night, during the middle of a bright day the petals open so far that they are all curved backwards.


Culture: Grows best in moist deciduous woodland environment with filtered light in the spring. The small plants prefer humus-rich soil. Needs shade so that the bulbs do not overheat or dry out. Blooms February through March. Pollinated by ants.  After a seed is planted it produces just one leaf in the first 6 years, then 2 leaves, a scape (stem) and a flower in the 7th year. Only plants that have two leaves will flower.


Uses: Grown as ornamental plants with numerous and selected for garden use. The bulb is edible as a root vegetable, cooked or dried, and can be ground into flour. The leaves can also be cooked as a leaf vegetable. In Japan, the bulb is processed to produce starch, which is used for food and other purposes. Also, the leaves are brewed as a tea said to relieve stomach pains.


Note: Rare plant that is only visible in the spring. For more information on this unusual plant, check with the people at the Heard Museum in McKinney, Texas.


The Heard Natural Science Museum & Wildlife Sanctuary
1 Nature Place
McKinney, TX 75069
Monday to Saturday 9:00 am to 5 pm
Sunday 1:00 pm to 5 pm






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