Share it! Science : See it? Share it! American Trout-Lily

Friday, May 13, 2016

See it? Share it! American Trout-Lily

I love this time of year, as everything is beginning to leaf and sprout. It's fun to rediscover all of the treasures that lay dormant in the soil during the winter months.

I especially love to see the woodland flowers pop up. There is something a little more magical about these, as they have not been planted by human hands. One that is blossoming now is the American trout-lily, or Erythronium americium. You can find this plant in the forest or on rocky cliffs or ledges throughout most of the United States and parts of Canada. It needs moist, partly shaded locations to grow. It is also called Yellow trout-lily, Eastern trout-lily, Yellow dogtooth violet and Adder's tongue.

American trout-lily woodland flowers
Trout-lily popping up under a log. ©SBF 2015

This pretty little yellow blossom resembles a miniature day-lily you might have growing in your flower garden. The mottled leaves of the flower are the giveaway that the plant is present. In fact, most often you'll see more leafy plants than flowering individuals.

The trout-lily is so named because of the white spotted pattern on the leaves that is thought to resemble the pattern of scales on a trout. Native Americans used the leaves in a tincture that was thought to heal wounds.

American trout-lily forest wildflowers
The speckled leaves are where the lily gets it's name! ©SBF 2015

The trout-lily can live for two years and has roots that are excellent for storage, tubers or bulbs. It blooms throughout the spring,  in the months of March, April and May.

What native flowers have you spotted in your area lately? Perhaps the lovely trillium flower, that you can read about in another See it? Share it! post: See it? Share it! Red Trillium or the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, another of my favorites that pops up this time of year.

You can learn more about plants and wildlife through the other posts on the See it? Share it! page. What have you observed recently? Get out there and explore!

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