Dog's-tooth Violet

By William T. Hathaway

Dog's-tooth Violet (Erythronium americanum))

The Dog's-tooth Violet (Erythronium americanum) is well camouflaged in the early spring woodlands. Oftentimes this little member of the Lily family is almost invisible to a careless observer. Some old-timers prefer colloquial names for this lily such as Trout-Lily, Fawn-Lily, Amber-bell, and Yellow Adder's-tongue.

The developmental history of this species is quite complicated and may discourage any effort to transplant it. Its environmental requirements are specific and may defy duplication. It is known that the Dog's-tooth Violet can take four years to develop from a seed to a mature flowering plant.

I have found this species to be quite common locally during the month of March. To observe this magnificent little lily one must seek out an oak-hickory woods where there is ample sunshine reaching the forest floor. Of course this isn't a violet, since it is a member of the Lily family.