Dogtooth Violet Trout Lily (Erythronium dens-canis)
The Dogtooth Violet Trout Lily or Erythronium dens-canis is a small evergreen tree native to the eastern United States and Canada. The leaves are oblong with four leaflets each, which are arranged in two rows along the stem. They have five petals and three sepals. The flowers are white, ovate, and up to 1 cm long. There are many varieties of dogtooth violet, but all have the same flower shape and size.
Some species grow to over 4 m tall; others only reach 2 m high.
In cultivation, dogtooth violet grows best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers moist soil and does well in sandy soils. It tolerates dry conditions if it gets enough water. When grown indoors, they prefer bright light and do not like cold temperatures. They tolerate drought better than most other plants, but will still die from lack of moisture.
The name of this plant refers to the shape of the leaves. Native Americans used all parts of the plant for medicinal purposes. The leaves were eaten in a salad, and the flowers were used to make wine. The tubers can be eaten cooked or raw. They can also be dried and stored for later use.
The young leaves can be eaten in a salad or cooked like a spinach. Both the flowers and the roots can be eaten raw or cooked into a drink.
The generic name of this plant, erythronium, comes from two Greek words meaning “red” and “a flower.” The different species names refer to its resemblance to the canine teeth (dens) of a dog (canis).
Trout lily is a common name for all the plants in the genus Erythronium. The name comes from the fact that the tubers were eaten by trout. The species name dens-canis means “dog’s tooth” in Latin.
The white flowers are sometimes tinged with pink and have a cluster of colorful stamens at their center. Dense clusters of flowers grow from the leaf axils on stems up to 30 cm (12 in.) high, producing up to 500 seeds.
Erythronium dens-canis tubers were a favorite food of trout and other fish, hence the name “trout lily.” The plant was also sometimes called “dog’s tooth” in reference to the shape of its flower.
Trout lily (erythronium dens-canis), which grows in rich soil, mostly in deciduous forests. The tubers are edible and were eaten by Native Americans and early settlers. They can be roasted, boiled or baked and have a sweet flavor.
Erythronium dens-canis, commonly known as Trout Lily, Dog’s Tooth Violet or False Hellebore, is a small perennial herb of the family Liliaceae. The plant is native to eastern North America and can typically be found growing in deciduous woodlands. This plant produces purple flowers in the spring and has a white tuberous root that is edible. The young leaves and flowers can be eaten raw or cooked. The tubers can be ground into a powder and used as flour, while the flowers can be used to make tea.
The plant has been used by Native Americans for various medicinal purposes.
The plant is a small herb growing from a slender, tuberous root that is usually between 3 and 12 centimeters long (1 to 5 in) and typically straight. The stems are slender, repeatedly dividing into narrower segments, and typically rising up to 30 to 60 centimeters (12 to 24 in) tall. The leaves are narrow lanceolate, repeatedly divided into narrow sections, typically 1 to 2.5 centimeters (0.4 to 1 in) long but just a few millimeters wide.
The plant flowers in spring to early summer, typically between May and July. The flowers are borne in an elongate cluster at the tip of the stems, each flower pendent with six white tepals and a crown of yellow anthers. The fruit is a non-edible berry containing three or six seeds that are blackish brown.
Trout lily is native to the eastern United States, occurring as far west as Texas and Oklahoma and as far north as southern Ontario. It typically is found in moist or wet soils in deciduous forests or open areas.
Trout lily is used for ornamental purposes and can be grown from seed which has typically been collected from the wild. The tubers can be eaten either cooked or raw, and have a flavor that has been described as nutty, similar to a sweet potato. The tubers can be eaten at any stage of growth, but are typically under 10 centimeters (4 in) in length. The tubers can also be grated into a fine powder and used as a flour substitute. Eating a large portion of the raw plant will cause numbness of the mouth and throat.
Trout lily can be used as an herbal remedy for a variety of ailments, including diarrhea, chest pain, and sore muscles. It also has been used to induce vomiting.
Trout lily is occasionally eaten by the caterpillars of various butterflies and moths, including the mourning cloak, the viceroy, and the virgin tiger. The leaves will turn yellow if they are infected by mosaic viruses.
Trout lily contains antibacterial compounds.
Trout lily is also known as dog’s tooth violet and false hellebore.
The Zuni people chewed the root to quench thirst. They also used it as an emetic.
The Penobscot chewed or boiled the root and applied it to sores on the head. The Ojibwe made a poultice of the root and applied it to stomachaches. The Cherokee used the root as a sedative and as a diuretic. The root was also chewed for toothaches.
The Iroquois used the root as a poultice for treating burns. The Cherokee, Creek and Yananaho (Alabama) used the root for treating snakebite and skin conditions.
The Ojibwe used an infusion of the stem for treating pleurisy, as a diuretic, as an emetic, and as a painkiller.
The Menominee used the root as a diuretic and for treating stomachaches. The Meskwaki used a infusion of the stem for treating sore throats, colds, and coughs.
The Klamath used an infusion of the whole plant as an emetic.
The plant was also used as a diuretic, for treating skin conditions, and as an emetic by the Winnebago.
The Zuni people use the root for toothaches, and the Blackfoot Nation for stomachaches.
Sources & references used in this article:
La Balianne by E Sanders – International Feminist Journal of Politics, 2007 – Taylor & Francis
WE WILL NOT TIRE OF THEM by C Boston – 1985 – Prentice Hall
Wild Flowers by WG Brewer – Contemporary Education, 1972 – search.proquest.com
Language of flowers by RB Gordon – 1931 – kb.osu.edu
Legends and lore of Texas wildflowers by A Bullen – 2004 – books.google.com
The Book of Container Gardening by E Silverthorne – 2003 – books.google.com
The Early Rock Garden by M Hillier – 1991 – books.google.com