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Trout Lily, Dog Tooth Violet: Wildflower for the Woodland Garden

Erythronium is a native woodland plant with some interesting common names: Trout Lily, Fawn Lily, and Dog Tooth Violet.

The bulb is shaped like a dog's tooth, hence the common name Dog Tooth Violet. Apparently the common names Trout Lily and Fawn Lily make reference to the spots on the foliage.

Erythronium is native to the western US--an easy to grow bulbous perennial for the native plant garden. Quite rare, this plant would be a nice find for your shade garden.

The beautiful blooms are elegant and very unusual 6-petaled flowers on tall stems held high above the foliage. Blooms appear in mid to late spring. The leaves are just as beautiful as the flowers, in my opinion. The foliage forms clumps of glossy foliage with attractive bronze mottling.

Erythronium dens canis is my favorite with beautiful speckled foliage and blooms that are rose pink to purple.

Erythronium dens canis
Erythronium White Beauty is also striking with its large white blooms having brown basal spots and foliage with white and brown veins to match the blooms.

Erythronium tuolumnense shows off with bright yellow blooms that have a green center. Leaves on this one are a soft solid green (no mottling.)

Erythronium must be planted in early fall to give the bulbs plenty of time to establish and grow in preparation for spring bloom. It requires moisture-retentive, fertile soil such as is found in woodland conditions. Erythronium should receive regular water, especially in spring when leaves are emerging, but less in late summer into fall as the plant prepares for winter dormancy.

Trout Lily can be grown just about anywhere in the United States, since it is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.

No matter which common name you prefer to call this unusual plant, you'll love it planted at the base of a large tree or in a shady rock garden.

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