Erythronium albidum

Flowering white trout lily

Flowering white trout lily

The trout lily is one of the many spring ephemerals  that bloom at the sanctuary! This little plant gets its name from the resemblance of the leaves to the colors of a trout or from the fact that it blooms during trout fishing season.  Another name, Fawn Lily, suggests the spotted markings of a young deer or the way the two leaves stand up as they would on an alert fawn.

This perennial plant is about 4-6″ tall, consisting of 1-2 basal leaves and a flowering stalk with a single flower. Immature plants produce a single leaf and fail to flower, while mature plants that bloom produce a pair of leaves. The basal leaves are up to 6″ long and 2″ across. They are elliptic, lanceolate, or narrowly ovate, and smooth (entire) along their margins. The upper leaf surface is mottled pale green and brownish or grayish green, while the lower leaf surface is pale to medium green. Both leaf surfaces are glabrous; the upper leaf surface is often waxy. The leaves often curve upward slightly from the midvein to the margins. A naked flowering stalk develops between the basal leaves of mature plants. This stalk is light green to reddish brown and glabrous; it nods downward at its apex, where the flower occurs.

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  1. First Flower: Date the first flowers are fully open. When open, you will see the stamens among the unfolded petals.
  2. Full Flower: Date when half or more of the flowers are completely open
  3. First Ripe Fruit: Date when you notice the first fruits becoming fully ripe or seeds dropping naturally from the plant. Ripening is indicated by the berries turning red, yellow, orange, or maroon.
  4. Full Fruiting: Date when half or more of the fruits are completely ripe or seeds are dropping naturally from the plant.
  5. All Leaves Withered: Date when most or all of the leaves that developed this season, have lost green color or are dried and dead.


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