5 April 2017 – How to Identify Erythronium americanum

Petals with ears at the base, style, and dimple-less ovary

Today, I went to the refuge’s North Tract to look for some Yellow Dogtooth Violets or Trout Lilies (Erythronium) to take some pictures of the inner floral parts for identification purposes. According to the available literature, Erythronium americanum has two “ears” (or auricles) at the base of the petals (inner three tepals) and the ovary is dimple-less. The detail on these photos fit that description. For the record, although I did not take a photo of the anthers, they contained yellow pollen.

Another yellow Erythronium that is reportedly found in Maryland (Erythronium umbilicatum) does not have “ears” (or auricles) at the base of the petals and the ovary/seed capsule has a dimple at the apex. Who will be the first one to find this species in Maryland?


The auricles (“ears”) at the base of the petals is clearly visible in the blue box. This means the plant is Erythronium americanum.

As of 7 April, I have examined over 30 Erythonium plants on the Refuge’s North Tract and Central Tract. They all had auricles, meaning they are all Erythronium americanum.



  1. Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 20+ vols. New York and Oxford.
  2. Weakley, A.S. 2012. Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. UNC Herbarium, North Carolina Botanical Garden. 1225 pp.
  3. Weakley, Ludwig, and Townsend. 2012. The Flora of Virginia.
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