|Trout lilies (Erythronium albidum) - Photo by Linda Ellis|
|Trout-like speckling of the leaves|
The yellow petals belong to E. rostratum, a species found in the south-central US. This is the only Erythronium species with erect rather than nodding flowers as are seen below. Their habitat, "Mesic woods, often in flood plains and along waterways, also on shaded lower ledges of bluffs," perfectly describes the areas where we find them carpeting the forest floor.
Erythronium albidum. These are perennial with a small corm (tuber) several centimeters underground that can send out stolons to produce more plants until they cover the ground, looking like the pool of trout at the hatchery. They, like many other plants that grow in shaded moist areas, are threatened by invasive garlic mustard.
The leaves are said to be edible and the corms supposedly have a cucumber taste. Why you would destroy a beautiful little plant for a tiny corm is beyond me, especially when they go on to say that "Trout lilies are an emetic (makes you throw up), therefore it is recommended not to eat mass quantities of these in one day." To me emetic and edible don't belong in the same sentence.
The trout lily flower has six petals - except when it has eight as explained in a future blog.