Erythronium revolutum

23 Mar

This is quite possibly one of the most magical, ethereal looking flowers in the garden. Kind of like a cross between a tulip and a turk’s cap lily, the nodding spidery pink flowers float above mottled, tongue like leaves. The mottling is said to look like the mottling on a fawns or trout’s back, leading to common names like trout lily or the more common one for this species, pink fawn lily. An early spring ephemeral, these persnickety little beauties come up early, blooming just after the earliest crocus, and fade quickly, but while they are blooming, on a sunny spring day, it’s hard to imagine anything more sublime… Unless of course it’s a field of them!

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So far I only have the one bulb blooming again, plus another that looks like Erythronium oreganum, and another clump of E. ‘Pagoda’ still hanging on. They will reseed when happy, but so far between slugs and too much shade I haven’t seen any sign of that. Like most lilies, patience is needed for that- It can be 5-10 years from seedling to flower.

Still, I find these magical, and always end up on my “favorite species” list when they are in bloom. If you decide to plant them, watch for slugs, and consider burying the bulbs in a little cage, rodents seem to like eating the bulbs. If you can keep the critters away and give them just the right combination of part sun, winter moist/summer dryish, well drained but fertile soil, you might just have luck with them!

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