nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘spring wildflowers

spring wildflowers – Trout Lily

with 5 comments

On a drive to Sussex yesterday, we found Trout Lily blooming in many ditches along the back roads.

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Trout Lily is an herbaceous colonial plant, covering slopes in rich, moist hardwoods. The plant is also known as Dog’s Tooth Violet, Yellow Adder’s-tongue, Fawn-lily, and in French, ail doux. The yellow lily-like flowers bloom in New Brunswick in May. The leaves are mottled in maroon and green. The young leaves and bulb-like ‘corm’ are edible but should only be gathered if the plants are abundant, to conserve the species.

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trout lily

(Erythronium americanum Ker)

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On a hike in the hardwood

north of the Dunbar Stream

you discover Trout Lily profusion

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Mottled purple leaves overlap

as the scales of adder or dragon

You know these plants as edible

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the leaves a salad, or pot-herb

and, deep underground, the corm

flavoured like garlic

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You fall to your knees

to dig, to gather, and

hesitate

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examine your motives

You, with two granola bars in your knapsack

and a bottle of water from Ontario

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(published as ‘trout lily’ in “within easy reach“, 2016, Chapel Street Editions)

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

Trout-lily (Erythronium americanum Ker)

with 8 comments

Two weeks ago, we had a memorable drive and hike along the South Branch Dunbar Stream, north of Fredericton.  The wet hardwoods along the intervale areas of the stream were green with understory plants and dotted with spring wildflowers.  One of the plants growing there in profusion is the Trout Lily.  The Trout Lily is colonial, covering slopes in rich, moist hardwoods.  Its red and green mottled leaves grow thick on the hummocks, beside the Wood Anemone and Purple Trillium.  The area where we were hiking was not far from the stream and there was evidence it had been flooded earlier in the year.

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum Ker) is also known as the Dog’s Tooth Violet, Yellow Adder’s-tongue, Fawn-lily, and, in French, ail doux.  Its generic name is from the Greek erythros meaning ‘red’, a reference to the purple-flowered European species.

The Trout Lily was barely beginning its blooming when we were there, but it will be almost over by now.  The flowers usually bloom from March to May.  They are yellow and lily-like, with six divisions.  The petals curve backward as they mature.

The young leaves are edible but should only be gathered if they are very abundant in order to conserve the species.  To prepare the leaves for eating, clean them, boil them for 10 to 15 minutes and serve with vinegar.  The bulb-like ‘corm’ is also edible; it should be cooked about 25 minutes and served with butter.  Again, the bulbs should only be gathered if the plant is very plentiful, and only a small percentage of the plants should be harvested to enable the plant to thrive.  Also, the usual warning applies, only harvest if you are absolutely certain of the identification.

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Trout Lily

(Erythronium americanum Ker)

~

on a hike in the hardwood

north of the Dunbar Stream

you discover Trout Lily in profusion

mottled purple, overlapping

as the scales of adder, dinosaur or dragon

~

you know these plants as edible

the leaves a salad, or pot-herb

and, deep underground, the corm

flavoured like garlic

~

you fall to your knees

to dig, to gather

and hesitate,

examine your motives –

you, with two granola bars in your knapsack

and a bottle of water from Ontario

~

~

©  Jane Tims  2012

Warning:
1. never eat any plant if you are not absolutely certain of the identification;
2. never eat any plant if you have personal sensitivities, including allergies, to certain plants or their derivatives;
3. never eat any plant unless you have checked several sources to verify the edibility of the plant.
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