I knew nothing about Erythronium until I saw a recent Gardeners World episode where they did a segment on them. They come in so many shapes and sizes that they absolutely fascinated me. It seems they are difficult to propagate for sale, so finding them cane be quite difficult and quite expensive, but they will spread on their own if planted in a favorable spot.


Photo: Wikipedia

Erythronium (fawn lilytrout lilydog’s-tooth violetadder’s tongue) is a genus of 20–30 species of hardy spring-flowering perennial plants with long, tooth-like bulbs. Slender stems carry pendent flowers with recurved tepals in shades of cream, yellow, pink and mauve. Species are native to forests and meadows in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.[1]

The bulb is edible as a root vegetable, cooked or dried, and can be ground into flour. The leaves can also be cooked as a leaf vegetable. In JapanErythronium japonicum is called katakuri, and the bulb is processed to produce starch, which is used for food and other purposes.

They are also widely grown as ornamental plants, with numerous hybrids and cultivars having been selected for garden use. Popular cultivars include Erythronium ‘Pagoda’E. ‘Sundisc’, E. ‘Joanna’, E. ‘Kondo’, E. ‘Citronella’, E. californicum ‘White Beauty’, and E. ‘Rosalind’. Propagation is best by seed in autumn or by division of bulbs, depending on species. Some species propagate vegetatively. The plant is also great as a ground cover, as it will spread over several years.

— Wikipedia

More information on Erythronium:
Some of these books may be available at your local library! 

More Erythronium books, art, plants and seed at

Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas