Erythronium americanum
trout lily; dog-tooth violet

Erythronium americanum
Erythronium americanum
Photo courtesy Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown
Botanical name: Erythronium americanum ker Gawl
Common name: trout lily; dog-tooth violet
Group: monocot
Family: Liliaceae
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: 4 - 10"
Foliage: Basal, petiolate Green leaves with purple mottling, reminiscent of speckled skin of a trout (hence the common name "trout" lily). Fertile plants generally have 2 leaves; sterile plants, one.
Flower: yellow, 1" wide; 3 petals and 3 petal-like sepals
Flowering time: March - May
Habitat: rich, moist woods and meadows
Range in New Jersey: all counties except Burlington, Atlantic, Cape May, Passaic, Essex, and Union
Heritage ranking, if any: n/a
Misc. Erythronium americanum, from the Greek word erythros, meaning “red.” This is a reference either to the red flower or the reddish blotching of some Erythronium species.

Low-growing plants that form colonies of plants of different ages. The youngsters are flowerless and have only one leaf, while older plants produce two leaves and a single flower.

Traditionally the bulbs and leaves were eaten by Native Americans; the plants were also used for ulcers and as a contraceptive. Excessive ingestion of this plant can cause vomitting.

Although one of the common names of this plant is "dogtooth violet", it refers to the shape of the corm; it is not a violet, but a lily.