Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Dog Toothed Violet

Trout Lily (Dog Toothed Violet)

Erythronium americanum

Trout Lily (Fawn lily, Adder's tongue, Dog tooth violet) grows in huge colonies that can completely cover a forest floor. The colonies can be hundreds of years old and takes a long time to grow to such a size. Its bulbs are sterile up to about the seventh year and then it produces only one leaf and no flowers. When they mature one plant will grow two leaves and one, beautiful yellow flower. The colony spreads mostly by runners and less importantly by seed.  This plant is a beautiful spring ephemeral meaning it's perennial. It disappears by early summer, to reappear the next spring.

Trout Lily is both medicinal and edible. The leaves have a very mild flavor and the flowers have a slight sweetness due to their nectar and are also slightly acrid. The corms are edible as well and have a cucumber-like taste. its flower stalk, flower buds, and flowers are edible raw or cooked. The leaves can be eaten raw, such as in salads. Again, the plant only has two leaves so harvest responsibly.  They are crisp and chewy. However again, consume sparingly as they can be emetic. (makes you throw up), therefore it is recommended not to eat mass quantities of these in one day. You can add this plant to a salad or eat them as a trail snack. You can also make a tea with the flower, leaves or corm (or all). Collect enough corms then they can be roasted.

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