Wild Flowers of Pittsburgh

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Also known as Dogtooth Violet or Adder’s Tongue, this very attractive plant is as remarkable for its mottled leaves as for its yellow flowers. It likes wooded stream valleys where the soil is very rich and moist. This one was blooming in late April in the Squaw Run valley, Fox Chapel.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

ERYTHRONIUM L. DOG’S-TOOTH VIOLET

Perianth lily-like, of 6 lanceolate recurved or spreading divisions, deciduous, the 3 inner usually with a callous tooth on each side of the base, and a groove in the middle. Filaments 6, awl-shaped; anthers oblong-linear. Style elongated. Capsule obovoid, contracted at base, 3-valved, loculicidal. Seeds rather numerous. Nearly stemless herbs, with two smooth and shining flat leaves tapering into petioles and sheathing the base of the commonly one-flowered scape, rising from a deep solid scaly bulb. Flowers rather large, nodding, in spring. (The Greek name for the purple-flowered European species, from erythros, red. )

E. americanum Ker. (YELLOW ADDER’S-TONGUE). Scape 1.5-2 dm. high; leaves elliptical-lanceolate, pale green, mottled with purplish and whitish and often minutely dotted; perianth light yellow, often spotted near the base (2-4 cm. long); style club-shaped; stigmas united. Rich ground, N. B. to Fla. , w. to Out. and Ark.

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One response

  1. Jeannine

    Quite a few of these bloom at Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg, too. They are some of my favorite early wildflowers!

    June 13, 2010 at 10:21 pm

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