Trout Lily

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum; also called Adder’s Tongue, Dogtooth Violet) is a common, widespread wildflower that blooms in early spring. I find it growing on a wide variety of sites, including rich woodlands, forest edges and old, abandoned pastureland succeeding to woody plants.

TroutLily1May13#113E

Viewed closely when the lighting and background are just right, the nodding yellow flowers with reflexed petals are a beautiful woodland sight. A pair of mottled leaves, somewhat resembling the dorsal coloring of a Brook Trout, are prominent at the base of the flower stalk. Trout Lily is colony-forming and it is not unusual to find dozens of crowded plants in a small area, devoid of flowers. I can’t explain this phenomenon completely, but the lack of flowers is reportedly a function of crowding, plant age, site quality and/or browsing by herbivores.

TroutLily17Apr12#067E

TroutLilly14Apr12#163E

TroutLily14Apr12#187E2

TroutLilyBee17Apr12#078E

TroutLily1May13#119E

All photos by NB Hunter

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