Spot that Plant: Erythronium americanum (Trout Lily or Adder's Tongue)


Dancing faces you towards Heaven, whichever direction you turn.
Terri Guillemets

I took the picture above while on a family walk at Toronto's G. Lord Ross Park, located in the West Don River valley north of Finch Avenue. This is a great park for a long walk with the dog as it has an extensive nature trail. We especially love it in the spring when you can see the vegetation coming back to life and in the fall for the amazing colours on the trees!

Also called adder's tongue, the yellow trout-lily (Erythronium americanum) is one of the earliest wildflowers you will see in spring, sometimes appearing even while there is still snow on the ground. This particular picture is somewhat unusual because it shows the flower with its head tossed confidently back, unlike its usual tendency of nodding shyly on its thin, gangly stalk, its face hidden away from you. Since the blooms are diminutive and shrink timidly into the embrace of deep layers of dead leaves, you really have to look closely to detect this ephemeral wildflower. You will have better luck locating it by looking for its green and brown spotted leaves that makes the plant look like it has tied an army jacket around its waist!

Here is a wonderful article on this little flower's name origins and how to propagate trout lilies in your backyard garden from the Canadian Wildlife Federation. Have you ever spotted this plant? Leave a comment and let us know!

Yellow trout-lily (Erythronium americanum) in Guelph, Ontario, Canada
by Ryan Hodnett on Wikimedia Commons

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