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Trout Lily Erythronium americanum

Other plants called Trout Lily:

Phonetic Spelling
er-ih-THROH-nee-um a-mer-ih-KAY-num
Description

This perennial wildflower is an ephemeral, which is a plant that blooms in the early spring then goes dormant.  It blooms before the surrounding trees leaf out and cover the area with shade.  At that point, the only part of the plant remaining are the roots, rhizomes and bulbs which are all underground.

It prefers moist, humusy soils and can grow in a variety of garden areas supporting a more acid soil. The bloom grows on a stalk, with one or more leaves at its base. Young plants often have only one leaf.  Flowering plants will always have 2 leaves.  Plants that are part of a colony may be non-flowering and have one or no leaves.  A shade or partial shade garden, with available moisture and rich soil, would be a good location. It can also grow in rich woods or bottomlands.

Several of the common names for this plant refer to the flower or leaf appearance at different phases of its growth cycle. As one example, the Trout lily name refers to its leaf mottling resembling a trout moving through water and the general shape of the petals.  Fawn lily refers to the spotted leaves that are said to resemble the upright ears of a fawn.  Other common names, Dogtooth Violet refer to its tooth-like shaped bulb.  

This plant and its relatives in the genus Erythronium support the Andrena miner bee family, present across the U.S., that is important to the pollination of woodland and garden bulbs, berries, and flowering trees and shrubs. The scientific name of this miner bee that is attracted to this lily family is Andrena (Leucandrena) erythronii.

Although deer may occasionally browse the plant, the mottled pattern of its leaves helps to hide the foliage from view.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious insect or disease problems.

When grown from seed, it can take up to 5 years before the plant produces flowers.  Purchasing corms, or planting offsets will have better results.  

Does not transplant well.  

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#perennials#brown#wildlife plant#purple flowers#yellow flowers#corms#native perennials#nectar plant#shade garden#specialized bees#herbaceous#NC native#deer browsing plant#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#colonies#spring interest#acidic soils tolerant#pollinator plant#wildflower garden#naturalized area#flowers early spring#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#dry soils intolerant#colonizing#drought intolerant#native#colony
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#purple#perennials#brown#wildlife plant#purple flowers#yellow flowers#corms#native perennials#nectar plant#shade garden#specialized bees#herbaceous#NC native#deer browsing plant#herbaceous perennials#groundcover#colonies#spring interest#acidic soils tolerant#pollinator plant#wildflower garden#naturalized area#flowers early spring#partial shade tolerant#bee friendly#dry soils intolerant#colonizing#drought intolerant#native#colony
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Erythronium
    Species:
    americanum
    Family:
    Liliaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native wildflower can be used as ground cover.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern Canada to North Central & Eastern U.S.A
    Wildlife Value:
    Members of the genus Erythronium support the following specialized bee: Andrena (Leucandrena) erythronii.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    insect pests, diseases, shade
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Ascending
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    After flowering a rounded capsule is formed that splits into 3 parts to release two or more seeds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Head
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Bell
    Flower Petals:
    6 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The nodding, yellow 1.5 in. bell-shaped flowers bloom for 2 weeks are on a stalk have six petals/ perianth parts that may curve backward at the tip and are often tinged with purple on the back.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Feel:
    Smooth
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Lanceolate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    This plant has a pair of elliptic basal leaves 4-6 in. long. The leaves are pale green and mottled with purplish-brown.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Shade Garden
    Water Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Diseases
    Insect Pests