The Spring Ephemerals, part 4: Trout Lilies and Toadshade

I love all the spring ephemerals; can’t say which are my favorites. But trout lilies are way up there.

Of the twenty some species of Erythronium, two are found in Maryland (maybe three depending on which authority you consult): E. americanum (yellow trout lily) and E. albidum (white trout lily). The latter is listed S2/threatened by the Maryland DNR. I figured I’d miss seeing both this year, but a little luck and persistence led me to a single white one blooming, and in the process I found a hillside covered in yellow ones (I stopped counting at 35). Here are a few pictures.

I know of two spots where white trout lilies grow. I spent more than an hour searching one of those areas after someone posted a picture of a white trout lily blooming. Couldn’t find it. Hiked to another area, shot the yellow trout lilies, then decided to go back for one more look. Pulled out my phone and searched for the picture, and sure enough, there were enough clues in it that I was able to narrow my search to a small area. Et voila! The one shown here in bud was from the other location, the day before.

Toadshade is a species of trillium, T. sessile (Melanthiaceae). The three maroon petals stay closed; the plants shown here are in full bloom.  

3 thoughts on “The Spring Ephemerals, part 4: Trout Lilies and Toadshade

  1. I went looking for ephemerals earlier today up at the Howard County Conservancy. Found no flowering Trout Lilies, but plenty of leaves. Almost all flowers were Spring Beauties, with a couple of Bloodroot, and one Toothwort (I think), other than the usual “weeds”.

    I’ve never encountered the white species of Trout Lily. Very interesting!

    Love the pictures!

    • Thanks! I suppose the HCC visitor center was closed. A few years ago I did a wildflower guide for them as part of my master naturalist training. I wonder if they still have it.

      • Yes, the center is closed, but the trails open. There were quite a few people there, but no problems at all with spacing. I expect they still have your wildflower guide – unless they wore it out!

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