Trout lily

Oh Erythronium, I can’t say enough about thee.  Seriously.  I love Erythronium.  They’re just so delightful in every way.  First off, they’re ephemerals.  I love ephemerals.  They grow and bloom super early (late March-early May here) and by the time they’re done its time to get all the summer annuals in.  Trout lily is especially great.  Why?  Because I said so.  The foliage is great (Chocolate brown with green spots usually) and the flowers come in a variety of colors including white, yellow and pink.  Minnesota’s only endemic species happens to be a type of trout lily (Erythronium propullans).  I’ve had the pleasure of seeing this only once in my life and it surely was a highlight.  The foliage is the same size as the rest of the native Erythroniums but the flowers are barely the size of your pinky nail.  It only grows in a few spots in Minnesota and no where else on the planet. has some more information on the dwarf trout lily.  The other two natives (E. albidum and E. americanum) are also great plants.  They grow to form massive colonies of plants.  Some years they are covered in blooms, some years there are no blooms in an entire patch that could cover 50 square feet.  No one really knows why they bloom when they do, there has been no proven correlation to snow depth, temperature or moisture.  I hope its something cool like radiation from alien space ships or something bizarre like that.  Anyways I’m tired of gushing so now I’m going to post some pictures from Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park in Nerstrand, MN and Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary in Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

E. albidum

E. americanum

E. albidum

E. americanum


4 thoughts on “Trout lily

  1. Pretty! I had an Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ in my garden – the only kind that seems to be for sale here – it’s odd to see something that’s a rather rare garden plant on this side of the world as a wildflower. :)

    • I love Pagoda, it’s so vigorous and much more reliable in it’s blooming. I planted 3 corms (bulbs? Rhizomes? They looked like corms to me) a few years ago and the clump is almost a foot across now. I don’t know why but I just love them so much! My clump of E. americanum is beginning to form a colony and I’m so insanely excited! It’s so interesting to me that they’re unusual for you. They’re not super common hear but I wouldn’t call them rare! Then again you guys have oxlips and they’re quite a novelty here.

  2. One of the many things I like about the Internet is seeing how different the plants are in other parts of the world, how stuff that’s rare here is commonplace somewhere else, and vice versa. I mean… oxlips? They’re all over the place here right now, on the meadows, in the gardens, the woods, on the railway embankment…

    Oh, and by the way, thank you for teaching me a new word (ephemeral) – I’ve probably read it before, but I didn’t know what it meant until I looked it up reading this post.

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