Monday, March 7, 2011

Dimpled Trout Lily

Today I found Trout lily (Erythronium umbilicatum) in full bloom near Clemson, South Carolina. It's both one of the first wildflowers to bloom in spring and one of the most beautiful with nodding yellow flowers that close up tight at night and gradually open the next morning. On warmer days, look for bumblebees visiting the nectar-rich flowers.

Trout lily is a classic example of a spring ephemeral. It emerges from an underground bulb as the soil begins to warm in late winter and dies back in spring as the canopy trees leaf out (thereby shading the forest floor). In a matter of just a few weeks it emerges, leafs out, flowers, sets fruit, and matures seeds. The rest of the year (10+ months) it persists underground as a dormant bulb. So, enjoy this plant while you can as it will soon retreat to its underground refuge.

1 comment:

  1. I found this post via a search for Dimpled Trout lily -- what a nice surprise!