Erythronium americanum (American trout-lily)

Genus: Erythronium – The genus Erythronium includes about 25 species of easily recognizable spring-blooming flowers. While most are native to the northwest, here in the northeast we do have two species, E. Erythronium americanum, American trout lilyamericanum and E. albidum.
Family: Liliaceae (lily) – The lily family includes over 600 worldwide species in fifteen genus.

Bloom Time: A spring ephemeral, blooming in April and May.
Bloom Color: Yellow (the other northeast species, Erythronium albidum, has a white bloom)
Plant Height: 7-20 cm
Leaves: Mature trout lilies have two basal leaves, immature plants (that won’t produce a bloom) have one basal leaf. The leaves of Erythronium americanum have a unique mottled appearance similar to the skin of a trout.
Habitat: Terrestrial, trout lily likes moist, rich soil and a good amount of sun in the spring.

Life Cycle: After being pollinated by ants, a trout lily plant will not mature for about seven years, when it will have two basal leaves and one flowering stem. Immature plants will only have one basal leaf. A spring ephemeral, the entire blooming cycle of a trout lily is completed before the rest of the forest has woken up for the spring.

Key Facts:  One of the most recognizable of the spring ephemerals, the leaves of a trout lily are the most distinctive feature. While the leaves are edible, be sure not to consume to many as they can cause significant stomach distress.





Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide, Lawrence Newcomb
Wildflowers of New England, Ted Elliman
Flora Novae Angliae, Arthur Haines