Erythronium albidum
(White Trout Lily)

Other pictures of this plant:

               Seedpod                                           Leaf                                            Stem                                        Seed                                          Habit

Facts About this Plant:

    Common Names: White Trout Lily, White Dogtooth Violet, White Adder's Tongue, White Fawn Lily
    Lifespan: Perennial
    Zones: 3 - 8
    Type: Forb
    Bloom Time: March - May
    Status: Native

Erythronium albidum, or White Trout Lily, is native to most of the eastern half of the United States, except Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. It grows in open woods, where it can be in the shade or in more open areas. The more open the area, the more blooms there will be. In deep shade, the plants rarely bloom. It blooms in early spring, with white flowers, whose petals curve backward; the flowers close up at night and open again each day; the plant is a true ephemeral, meaning it pops up from the ground, blooms, sets seed and then disappears completely under the ground again until the following spring. These usually disappear entirely by early June.

There are a number of species in the United States, but they are sharply divided by location, with quite a few species on the Western side, and only six species in the Eastern half of the US. The following information can help differentiate them by descriptions. More comparison photos will be posted at a later time.

Erythronium albidum: white flowers whose petals recurve - that is, they face upward and away from the center of the flower - especially when the flower first opens; the leaves are speckled brown, but perhaps not as much as Erythronium americanum; grows in woods; seed pods are held up above the ground
Erythronium americanum: bright yellow flowers, usually with brown speckles; seed pod is rounded and is held up erect, not touching the ground. The plant has very many non-flowering plants, which have a single leaf and spread from stolons (a horizontal stem that spreads out from the original plant and eventually forms a new one) - these stoloniferous plants are shallow rooted, compared to the flowering plants which have deep rooted bulbs of 8 - 12 inches
Erythronium mesochoreum: white flowers whose petals do not recurve, and instead point straight out; grows in prairies, not woods; has less or no brown speckles on leaves; seed pods rest directly on the ground; plant grows only in central US and Ozark region
Erythronium propullans: small, white flowers; a very rare species known only from about 4 counties in Minnesota.
Erythronium rostratum: bright yellow flowers, usually with brown speckles; seed pod is distinctly long with a beak shape; plant grows in the central US and Ozark region
Erythronium umbilicatum: bright yellow flowers, usually with brown speckles; seed pod is usually indented at the end, and also usually the style from the flower remains after the petals fall away; seed pods rests on the ground; plant grows only in Southeast US

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