Yellow Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum

Yellow Trout Lily

Erythronium americanum

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Spring
Hardiness Zones: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9
Soil Conditions: Clay, Loam
Soil Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Yellow
Fragrance: No
Height: 6 inches
Spacing: 1 foot

Yellow Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum), Yellow Fawn Lily and Yellow Dog-tooth Violet is a spring wildflower that occurs in moist woods, on wooded slopes and bluffs, and along streams. A single, nodding, bell- or lily-shaped yellow flower blooms atop a naked scape sheathed by two glossy, tongue-shaped, tulip-like, basal leaves (to 6 inches long) in early spring. Petal-like perianth segments are reflexed and often brushed with purple on the outside. Anthers are yellow to brown. Leaves are mottled with brown and purple. It typically grows 4-6 inches tall. Flowering plants always have two basal leaves, however colonies frequently have non-flowering plants with only a single leaf. The common name of adder’s tongue is in reference to the tongue-like shape of the flowering shoot as it rises up in spring and the supposed resemblance of the flower to the open mouth of a snake. The common name of trout lily is in reference to the mottled leaves and the appearance of the flowers during trout fishing season. The blooming period occurs during mid-spring and lasts about 2 weeks. Afterwards, the flowers are replaced by obovoid seed capsules that are about ½-inch in length or a little longer. These capsules are glabrous and their apices are truncate to rounded. At maturity, these capsules divide into 3 parts to release their seeds.

Habitats include rich woodlands, wooded bluffs, rocky woodlands, and banks of streams. Yellow Trout Lily is found in deciduous woodlands, where Sugar Maple, American Beech, and other deciduous trees are present.

Best grown in moist, acidic, humusy soils in part shade to full shade. Plants may be grown from seed, but will not flower for 4-5 years. Quicker and better results are obtained from planting corms which are sold by many bulb suppliers and nurseries. In addition, offsets from mature plants may be harvested and planted. Plant corms 2-3 inches deep and 4-5 inches apart in fall. Corms of this species produce stolons, and plants will slowly spread to form large colonies if left undisturbed in optimum growing conditions. These native plants do not transplant well and should be left alone in the wild.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Plants go dormant by late spring.
 Further Information

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 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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