It’s the time of year for Erythronium. These woodland flowers have been called Trout Lily, Toad Lily, Dog’s Tooth Violet and Adder’s Tongue, but the ones in my garden are the White Fawn Lilies, Erythronium oregonum. As delicate as they look, they will survive in poor soil under deciduous shrubs or trees, sending their seeds out to produce new plants in surprising places. I have had them come up on our gravel driveway and in the midst of a thick clump of Periwinkle (Vinca) under a willow tree. They can survive in uncultivated soil, nearly hiding themselves under our native Salal (Gaultheria shallon) and Oregon-grape (Mahonia aquifolium), but they really thrive in humus-rich soil in dappled shade.
Native to western North America from Oregon to British Columbia, Fawn Lilies can be found in many places on Vancouver Island and are one of the plants that grow in our beautiful Garry Oak meadows.
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 Japan, Erythronium japonicum is called katakuri, and the bulb is processed to produce starch, which is used for food and other purposes. (Wikipedia.org, Erythronium)
In my daughter’s “town garden”, Fawn Lilies are growing with some delightful companions, including daffodils, Corsican hellebore (Helleborus argutifolius), Lady’s mantle (Alchemilla mollis) and Euphorbia.