Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plant of the week Trout Lilies

The yellow (Erythronium americanum) and white (E. albidum) trout lilies are synonymous with early spring ephemeral woodland wildflowers.  These small (4 - 6" tall) members of the lily family can put on quite a show when a cluster of them in the garden is in full flower.  These lilies take seven years to mature and when mature have two mottled basal leaves.  The flowers have six tepals (three sepals and three petals) and open during the day (to the extent that they are recurved when fully open) and close at night (to protect the pollen on the showy reddish or yellow anthers.) These are deep rooted plants and roots can go 8" deep and you must have highly organic or sandy-loam soils for these species to thrive. This particular species does not do well when dug from the wild and transplanted to the garden, so the best method of obtaining them is from a native plant nursery.  Because these plants flower so early (often in March) the leaves disappear often by the first of May, which allows you the opportunity to put in another spring ephemeral species to take it's place for the remainder of the growing season. Trout lilies are often called fawn lilies (due to the mottled or spotted leaves and the appearance that resembles a fawn's ears) or dog-tooth violets because the corms supposedly resemble a dogs tooth and flowers look kind of like violets.  The name trout lily is given because of the mottled leaves and the appearance of the flowers during trout fishing season.  It is sometimes called adder's tongue because of the tongue-like flower shape of the flowering shoot as it emerges in the spring and resembles the open mouth of a snake. These plants are not pH sensitive and both species are found across the state of Kentucky and are common.  There are no serious disease or pest problems associated with this species.Supposedly the corm is edible and tastes like a cucumber.

1 comment:

  1. This couldn't have come at a better time. I just planted both varieties of these in my woodland garden last year, and they're blooming this very minute. I don't think there is a more endearing wildflower. And judging by the number of fishermen I am seeing on the river, trout season must be in, so they're right on schedule.