Erythronium albidum

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: white dog's-tooth violet 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Liliaceae
Native Range: Eastern North America
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 0.50 to 1.00 feet
Spread: 0.25 to 0.50 feet
Bloom Time: April
Bloom Description: White with yellow
Sun: Part shade to full shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Colorful

Culture

Best grown in moist, acidic, humusy soils in part shade to full shade. Plants may be grown from seed, but will not flower for 4-5 years. Quicker and better results are obtained from planting corms which are sold by many bulb suppliers and nurseries. In addition, offsets from mature plants may be harvested and planted. Plant corms 2-3” deep and 4-5” apart in fall. Corms of this species produce stolons, and plants will slowly spread to form large colonies if left undisturbed in optimum growing conditions. These native plants do not transplant well and should be left alone in the wild.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Erythronium albidum, commonly called white dogtooth violet, is a Missouri native spring wildflower which occurs in moist woods, on wooded slopes and bluffs, and along streams throughout the State (Steyermark). It grows from tiny corms which purportedly resemble dogteeth and its flowers somewhat resemble violets, hence the common name. A single, nodding, bell- or lily-shaped white flower with yellow at the base blooms atop a naked scape sheathed by two basal, tongue-shaped, tulip-like leaves in early spring. Typically grows 6-12” tall. Flowering plants always have two basal leaves, however colonies frequently have non-flowering plants with only a single leaf. Leaves are mottled with silver-green (less frequently brown), hence giving rise to an additional common name of white trout lily. It should be noted that white trout lily is, from a botanical standpoint, a more accurate common name since this plant is a member of the lily family and not the violet family.

Genus name comes from the Greek word erythronion from erythros meaning red, originally the name for another plant.

Specific epithet means white.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. As with many of the early spring wildflowers, white dogtooth violet usually goes dormant by late spring.

Garden Uses

Naturalize in moist soils in shaded areas of native plant gardens, shade gardens, woodland gardens or wild/naturalized areas. Also grows well in pond or stream banks or in shady areas of rock gardens.