There seems to be a preoccupation here in the spring with trout. Trout opener is the last Saturday in April, which also coincides with the first blooms of the trout lilies. Where better to see them than in the woods around Birch Lodge, at Trout Lake, MI.
Some sources say trout lilies got their name because they blossom about the time of trout season, others say that the speckled leaves are like the markings of a trout. I only know that I love seeing their yellow blossoms spread through the floor of the woods in the spring.
Properly called Erythronium americanum, the trout lily is also called the dogtooth violet and adder,s tongue. They can be found in the woods generally in areas of leafy humus slightly on the damp side. Some garden cultivars are available in the nurseries now, but most of these are a slightly different species to our native flowers. The plants grow from a small bulb or "corm" which is about 4-6" below the soil. In plants that are too undeveloped to bloom, a white root-like growth will be sent out above the ground, which will root and develop a new plant.
The corm that the lilies grow from are edible, but please don't eat them. From seed to flower takes seven years of growing to develop a bulb large enough to produce a flower!
Typically they can be found blooming with other spring ephemerals like Dutchman's breeches and spring beauty.
Some other flowers found in the woods that bloom at the same time are cut-leaf toothwort and blood root.
This particular blood-root is a double blossoming cultivated one from my wild garden.
On the edge of the wood the hepatica and arbutus are also in bloom.
The arbutus smell wonderful, when the air is still their perfume fills the air, but most days you will have to get down on your knees to smell them. Do it! you may look a bit undignified, but hey, you are up north, who's looking?