Tag Archives: Dog-Tooth Violet

“Trout Lily”

“Trout Lillies” - Stoffville Reservoir

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”
― Luther Burbank

The Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is among my top ten spring plants. It looks almost tropical, with its spotted leaves and bright flowers, yet it grows in abundance in the moist woodlands of south-central Canada.

It’s an interesting plant, as there are often vast patches of Trout Lily with no blossoms at all. The young plants are sterile and have only one leaf. The mature plants have two leaves and bear a single blossom. It’s also known locally as Dog-Tooth Violet, though I prefer Trout Lily myself, as I believe it’s the white variety Erythronium albidum that actually resembles a tooth, but who am I to argue with local tradition? The name Trout Lily comes from the spotted leaves which resemble a trout’s skin and seems so much more appropriate to me.

When entering the forest, the Trout Lily is tough to spot, then you see one, and then another, each seemingly trying to outdo the last in their beauty, the forest floor a blanket of green wild leeks with spots of yellow everywhere. I love this time of year.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200 mm f/2.8 @ 200 mm
1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200

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“Trout Lily” – Stouffville Reservoir

“Trout Lily” - Stouffville Reservoir

The next in my spring wildflower series. Yesterday I went for a lunchtime stroll to my local nature retreat, namely, the Stouffville Reservoir. This area was created as a water conservation site after Hurricane Hazel roared through the region many years ago, creating floods and taking many lives. So, conservation areas were set up to ‘moderate’ water flow through a series of holding ponds. These areas made wonderful nature preserves and allowed for the preservation of many natural environments.

It is in one of these areas that many of my favourite wildflowers grow. Yesterday morning I checked on this stand of Trout Lilies, also known as ‘Dog Tooth Violets’ locally. They were not quite ready to open. But, a warm day and some sunshine changed that and they were in full bloom at noon today. Above is the photo I made of three beautiful specimens. The name is derived from the colouration of the leaves, which resembles the colour of trout. Many stands of these delicate wildflowers do not bloom for years and then, suddenly, they are full of blossoms. I have yet to figure that one out.

Nikon D300
Nikor 70-300 mm @ 220 mm
1/1600 sec @ f/6.3, ISO 250