Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

6 May

A colony forming, spring ephemeral flower native to North America and growing in the damper parts of woodland habitats. Trout lilies are one of the spring ephemerals which bloom in early spring before the trees growing above them develop leaves allowing them unobstructed access to sunlight and time to grow when soil nutrient levels are high. The flowers close at night.

Trout lilies grow in colonies, some of which have been dated to be up to 300 years old. There are some wonderful examples of these colonies in the Morgan Arboretum. E. americanum is a myrmecochorous plant, that is to say that ants disperse the seeds and reduce seed predation. To make the seeds more appealing to ants the seeds have an elaiosome which attracts ants.