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Trout Lily
Erythronium americanum

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Trout LilyTrout Lily? Also called Dogtooth Violet, but the beatifully mottled leaves always remind me of a trout. They are frequently found next to streams, but will also grow on drier soil if there is underground water available.  These attractive members of the lily family grow from 3-7" high, and are extremely colonial - one way they spread is by sending out cloned copies of themselves on runners. Often you will find a large patch of Trout Lilies with only a few mature, blooming adults - the rest are single-leaved "juveniles". Trout Lilies are one of the dozen or so "true spring ephemerals", which are spring wildflowers that appear very early in the year, then bloom and fade away before spring has even moved into summer. By mid May there will not be a trace of these plants in sight. For myself, I can mark the arrival of spring when I finally see the abundant leaves emerging through the leaf litter of my back "yard". They are one of the first to emerge at mid-elevations, matching the Spring Beauty for timing.
A note on the nomenclature (naming conventions) on this site: Scientific names and classifications are constantly being argued and changed, and it drives me nuts. Although I use many different sources for knowledge, for naming consistency  I  use the  "Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas" by Radford, Ahles and Bell, 1968 edition. This book is a well-established authority for the plants of our region and I've been using it for years. If for some reason I must use a different source for a particular plant, I will make note of it within the descriptive text. Don't like it? Tough!

Fiona Dudley
986 Reems Creek Road
Weaverville NC 28787


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