In Illinois oak woods, the white trout lilies bloom early in spring; they are part of the accepted picture of springtime in this part of the middle west. The woods would be strangely lacking in a special quality and flavor if none appeared before April was over. And these are all white.
Erythronium americanum Kcr.
Early spring Woods.
There are certain rare spots in Illinois, notably in the northern part and here and there in woods further south, where the yellow adder's tongue springs up and blossoms with bright yellow Lilies. In the eastern states the yellow kind is the common species; one expects an adder's tongue in New England to be yellow; a white one would be strange to see. But in Illinois the reverse is true.
Six-parted, as the other is, the yellow adder's tongue has a purple-tinged throat and protruding stamens and pistil. There is one flower on the slender smooth stem which springs abruptly from a pair of mottled green leaves. In the yellow species, the leaves usually are broad glossier, a brighter green with sharper purple mottlings than are Pound in the white.
Both trout lilies require a long period of growth before they bloom. It takes a seed seven years, usually, to reach blossoming size seven years while the bulb grows deeper and each year -ends up a single Leaf. In the sixth year there are two leaves, and in the seventh springtime there come two leaves with a flower bud between them, and the trout lily finally blooms.