Scape. - Six to nine inches high, one-flowered. Leaves. - Two, oblong-lance-shaped, pale green mottled with purple and white. Flower. - Rather large, pale yellow marked with purple, nodding. Perianth. - Of six recurved or spreading sepals. Stamens. - Six. Pistil. - One.
Plate XXXVI. Bulb. - Yellow Adders Tongue. - E. Americanum
The white blossoms of the shad-bush gleam from the thicket, and the sheltered hill-side is already starred with the blood-root and anemone when we go to seek the yellow adder's tongue. We direct our steps toward one of those hollows in the wood which is watered by such a clear gurgling brook as must appeal to every country-loving heart; and there where the pale April sunlight filters through the leafless branches, nod myriads of these lilies, each one guarded by a pair of mottled, erect, sentinel-like leaves.
The two English names of this plant are unsatisfactory and inappropriate. If the marking of its leaves resembles the skin of an adder why name it after its tongue ? And there is equally little reason for calling a lily a violet. Mr. Burroughs has suggested two pretty and significant names. "Fawn lily," he thinks, would be appropriate, because a fawn is also mottled, and because the two leaves stand up with the alert, startled look of a fawn's ears. The speckled foliage and perhaps its flowering season are indicated in the title "trout-lily," which has a spring-like flavor not without charm. It is said that the early settlers of Pennsylvania named the flower "yellow snowdrop," in memory of their own "harbinger of spring."
The white adder's tongue, E. albidum, is a species which is usually found somewhat westward.