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Trout Lily
Liliaceae
Erythronium americanum


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Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb




Trout Lily
Liliaceae Family
Tricyrtis hirta Japanese Toad Lily Lilium Formosanum Tiger lily Asiatic Lily
Blue Flax Lily Tulip Ledoboaria socialis Fly Poison Foxtail lily

Erythronium Genus
Trout Lily Glacier Lily Dogtooth Violet, Glacier Lily
Other Names for this Plant

Yellow Adder’s Tongue, Yellow Fawn Lily, Yellow Dog’s Tooth Violet


Location

Native to northeastern North America from New Brunswick to Florida, and westwards to Ontario and Arkansas

Physical Description
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Flower lily like, yellow, 1.8-4 cm long, solitary, and nodding at the end of the flowering stem. Perianth of 6 spreading separate divisions in 2 rows, the 3 inner divisions with small projections at the base, pale yellow within and often spotted near the base. Stamens 6/

The plant, which is quite smooth, grows from a small, slender, ovoid, fawn-colored corm, 1/3 to 1 inch long which is quite deeply buried in the soil and is of solid, firm consistence and white and starchy internally.

The stem is slender, a few inches high, and bears near the ground, on footstalks 2 to 3 inches long, a pair of oblong, dark-green, purplish-blotched leaves, the blades about 2 1/2 inches long and 1 inch wide, minutely wrinkled, with parallel, longitudinal veins. The stem terminates in a handsome, large, pendulous, lily-like flower, an inch across, with the perianth divisions strongly recurved, bright yellow in color, often tinged with purple and finely dotted within at the base, and with six stamens. It flowers in the latter part of April and early in May.


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What's This?

Liliaceae
Liliales
Liliales
Monocots
Monocots
One First-Leaves (Monocots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Medicinal Uses: Trout Lily is used in alternative medicine as contraceptive, diuretic, emetic, emollient, febrifuge, stimulant. The leaves and bulb are crushed and used to dress wounds and reduce swellings, for scrofula and other skin problems. A medicinal tea made from the root and leaf is said to reduce fever and fainting, tea also taken for ulcers, tumors and swollen glands

The plant was also used medicinally to heal ulcers and as a contraceptive. The plant is believed to be mildly emetic and antibiotic.

The fresh leaves having emollient and anti-scrofulous properties are mostly used in the form of a stimulating poultice, applied to swellings, tumours and scrofulous ulcers.

The infusion is taken internally in wineglassful doses. It is reputed of use in dropsy, hiccough and vomiting.

Food Uses: Traditionally the bulbs and leaves of this species were eaten, either raw or cooked

Cultivation: Trout lilies grow in moist, fertile woods but can adapt to growing in many types of gardens. Ideally, they should be planted amidst two or more deciduous trees that are large enough to provide shade or partial shade once their leaves emerge.

As they are above ground for only a short time, the only care you have to be concerned with is choosing a suitable spot. It should offer sun in the spring — to warm the earth and provide enough light for the lilies to make and store food — and shade or partial shade in the summer.

Propagation: This is a plant that relies more on the spreading abilities of its underground root system (corms) than on seed production from its flowers. In fact, it takes a few years for a plant to be mature enough to produce a flower and seeds. Trout lilies have recruited the help of ants, who eat a nutritious appendage attached to each seed and leave the rest to germinate. If you wish to propagate your trout lilies from seed, you will want to follow nature’s lead, at least as far as temperature is concerned. Keep your seeds moist and give them a few months of warm followed by a few months of cold, similar to the seeds falling on the ground at the beginning of summer and receiving the summer warmth and winter cold before sprouting the following spring. Wildflowers sometimes stagger their germination over several years, so you might want to sow a few extra seeds to avoid disappointment.

These plants will naturally spread by forming vast colonies. Some wild colonies are reputed to be as old as the trees around them — two or three hundred years! Despite its ability to spread, the trout lily is not considered an aggressive spreader but rather a delight to have in one's garden.

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Warning: The fresh leaves and corm, and to a lesser degree the rest of the plant, are emetic (causing vomiting and nausea)

Trout Lily

Trout Lily


Trout Lily

Trout Lily


Trout Lily

Trout Lily


Trout Lily

Trout Lily


Comment: Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum

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