Erythronium americanum (Yellow Trout Lily)
|Also known as:||Yellow Adder's-tongue, Dogtooth Violet|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist rich woods, thickets, along streams|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||4 to 8 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A single, nodding yellow flower, 1½ inches wide by 1 inch long, at the end of a stiff naked stem to 8 inches long. Flowers sometimes tinged with purple on outside of petals or reddish dots in throat. There are 6 long stamens in the center, usually with deep rusty red tips (anthers), or sometimes yellow. Petals flare out and back, often completely curved back to stem at maturity.
Leaves are broad and oval to 2 inches wide to 8 inches long, tapering on both ends at tip to underground bulbs, most bulbs not producing flowers. Flowering plants have a pair of basal leaves, non-flowering plants have a single leaf. The pale, waxy green leaves are mottled with purplish brown to white.
Fruit is a capsule, oval to inverted egg-shaped, rounded at the tip end and about ¾ inch long at maturity.
Leaves are very similar to Minnesota's other two trout-lilys (E. albidum and E. propullans) though some of the images here were taken at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis, where both white mottling leaves and yellow anthers were displayed. The source of EB plants is not known. Like the other trout lily species, this is most common on flood plains, the leaves appearing by early April and completely gone by June, and can form large colonies. There are 2 recognized subspecies in North America: subsp. harperi, which has a limited range in a few southeastern states, has a minute point at the tip of a capsule; subsp. americanum has the rounded capsule described here and is found from the easternmost counties of Minnesota eastward and as far south as northern Alabama.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk, taken at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis and along Sand Creek in Pine County
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?