Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of Thomas G. Barnes, USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Dogtooth violet

Scientific name
Erythronium americanum
Also Known As
Trout lily
Plant Family
Plant Group
Also commonly known as trout lily. It gets its name from the speckled leaves, reminiscent of the speckled skin of a trout. The delicate flowers are an eye catching yellow.
Identification Hints

This early-spring ephemeral ranges in height from 6 to 10 inches.  Trout lily is named for its speckled leaves, reminiscent of the skin of a trout. The delicate flowers are an eye catching yellow.

Did You Know?

Traditionally the bulbs and leaves of this species were eaten, either raw or cooked. The plant was also used medicinally to heal ulcers and as a contraceptive. The plant is believed to be mildly emetic and antibiotic.

Leaves
One to two basal, elliptic leaves 4 to 6 in (10 to 15 cm) long; approximately 2 in (5 cm) wide. Leaves are waxy, have no hairs, and have smooth edges. Leaves can be solid green, or a mottled combination of pale green or brown. The speckled leaves are a key identification feature.
Flowers
Individual yellow flowers resemble the typical lily, and range from 1 to 1.5 in (3.75 cm) wide. Plants produce one flowering stalk, with a single flower. Flowers face downward, and the six petal-like parts curve backward and are often tinged with purple or brown on the back. Stamens protrude from the center of the flower, face downward, and have long brown anthers, which open to release pollen. Looking into the center of the flower, the yellow petals have brown spots.
Fruits
A dry, three-chambered, football shaped capsule approximately ¾ in (2 cm) long. Each chamber holds two rows of flattened seeds.
Habitat
Moist, well-drained, humus soil; partial shade to shade; rich woods and bottomlands. Western Ontario to Louisiana, east to Georgia and Quebec.
Bloom Time
March to May; each bloom lasts approximately two weeks.
States
AL, AR, CT, DE, GA, IA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA, VT, WI, WV