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ERYTHRONIUM americanum

Image of Erythronium americanum

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Liliaceae

Botanical Name

ERYTHRONIUM americanum

Plant Common Name

Dogtooth Violet, Yellow Adder's Tongue

General Description

An elegant hardy perennial from moist woodlands of eastern North America, yellow trout lily is grown for its exquisite spring flowers and its strikingly marked foliage. Nodding from wiry, naked stems above paired basal leaves, the solitary yellow flowers have six backswept segments that give them the appearance of taking flight. Their exteriors are brushed with maroon. A starburst of purple-brown or yellow anthers protrudes from the gaping blooms. The broadly lance-shaped basal leaves are bronze-green dappled with silver. The leaves emerge before the flowers and go dormant soon after the blooms wither. Plants grow from small, tooth-shaped bulbs, which spread via underground stolons. Some forms of this plant tend to spread more and flower less than others.

This lovely perennial grows and flowers best in partial shade and well-drained, humus-rich soil. It fares poorly in wet or arid soil. It will often self-sow where happy. Use it in shaded rock gardens, borders, or naturalistic plantings. Although sometimes a slow grower and shy bloomer, it is nonetheless worthwhile and beautiful.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    9 - 2

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    3 - 9

  • Sunset Zone

    4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 16, 17

  • Plant Type

    Bulb or Corm or Tuber

  • Sun Exposure

    Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    3"-6" / 7.6cm - 15.2cm

  • Width

    3"-6" / 7.6cm - 15.2cm

  • Bloom Time

    Early Spring, Spring, Late Spring

  • Native To

    Northeastern United States, Mid-Atlantic United States, Southeastern United States, Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Slow

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow, Light Yellow, Burgundy, Bronze, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Purple, Light Green, Gray Green, Brown, Bronze, Silver

  • Foliage Color (Spring) Modifier

    Spotted/Mottled

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Rock Garden / Wall, Wildflower

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes