In Bloom: Trout Lily

Trout Lily. Anne Holmes, artist

Trout Lily (Erythronium umbilicatum) is a prized spring ephemeral here in the Botanical Gardens. Common names include dog-toothed lily, because its pointed, elongated bulb resembles a dog’s canine tooth, and trout lily, which refers to the shape and speckled pattern of the leaves. Bright yellow, downward-facing flowers rise four to eight inches above the ground-hugging leaves.

Although they go dormant by late spring, trout lilies continue to grow underground and in a few years you should have a nice colony. Plants do best when grown in moist, acidic soils in partial to full shade. They also grow well along pond or stream banks or in shady areas of rock gardens. You can grow from seed, but they will not flower for four to five years. A word of caution: this native plant does not transplant well and should be left alone in the wild. In my research, I have found that the bulb is edible and the leaves, when cooked, are a substitute for leafy vegetables. I also discovered that the flower supports pollinators and bees.

Upcoming Events at the Botanical Gardens

Native Plant Gardening in Small Gardens and Containers
Sunday, March 17, 2–4 p.m.
Join Lisa Wagner to learn about her favorite natives and design strategies for small gardens and containers. Many of our native species are well-suited to small spaces, allowing you to create natural garden vignettes in decorative containers, by entrances or around mailboxes. Slow-growing shrubs and compact perennials are easiest to use, but larger-growing natives are also suitable when used in annual or short-term plantings. Combining plants in small spaces doesn’t have to be complicated, but benefits from using nature’s inspiration to create pleasing naturalistic designs. A passionate gardener, Dr. Wagner is a plant ecologist interested in native plants, sustainable gardening, public education and promoting habitat restoration.

Hemlock Conservation & Restoration
Sunday Sunday, March 24, 2–4 p.m.
Join Sara deFosset, outreach associate for the Asheville-based Hemlock Restoration Initiative (HRI). HRI’s mission is to restore eastern and Carolina hemlocks to their native habitats throughout North Carolina and to mitigate damage to hemlocks caused by infestation of the hemlock woolly adelgid (SaveHemlocksNC.org). More specifically, the organization’s goal is to work with a variety of partners and current restoration initiatives to ensure that eastern and Carolina hemlocks can resist the deadly hemlock woolly adelgid and survive to maturity on North Carolina’s public and private lands.

Tracking Spring Green-up as a Citizen Scientist
Sunday, March 31, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Join Steve Norman, an ecologist with the US Forest Service Southern Research Station in Asheville, as we explore why there are differences in budburst and flowering among species of the Garden. He will provide tools so that attendees can become citizen scientists that track spring each year, either formally or informally. This class will take place both in the Butler Room and in the Gardens. In the event of rain, it will be held indoors. Educational programs are $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay for classes by calling 828.252.5190.

The Botanical Gardens, located at 151 W.T. Weaver Boulevard, is a nonprofit organization housing a collection of plants native to the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated and memberships are encouraged. Check AshevilleBotanicalGardens.org for a variety of education programs.

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