And poppin’: Yellow Trout-lily

Erythronium americanumThe Trout-lilies (Erythronium americanum) are amongst us once again. These were in Prospect Park; a friend reports them out and about in the far north of the New York Botanical Garden as well.Erythronium americanumThe flower’s tepals curve back like this on bright sunny days, leaving the anthers fully exposed for pollinators. (There’s still not all that much flying, but every day is revealing new insects.) In some specimens of this species, the anthers and pollen are yellow, unlike the red-brown seen here.

The common name seems to come from the mottled pattern of the leaves, like a trout’s scale pattern. Flowering versions have a pair of leaves; non-flowering versions have a single leaf and are usually members of a clonal colony, duplicates of their neighbors. According to Carol Gracie, other names for this flower include Adder’s Tongue, Fawn-lily, and Dog-tooth Violet.

Quintessential spring ephemerals, these aren’t in bloom for long. Look for them (and smell them!). As with all wildflowers, don’t you dare pick them!

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