Foraging Wild Greens: American Trout-lily

Photo of American Trout-lily

American Trout-lily (Erythronium americanum) is an easily recognized native perennial plant who often grows in moist forest soils. Non-flowering plants produce a single leaf in spring, whereas flowering individuals have two -- one on either side of the flower stalk. American Trout-lily's water-resistant, mottled leaves are edible and make for a succulent raw snack or cooked vegetable. Also, the small bulbs can be unearthed, cleaned, boiled, and eaten.

Photo of American Trout-lily leaf

If you find one plant, chances are you've found a hundred, as American Trout-lily tends to grow in dense clumps. As with any wild plant, only harvest when the impact of your gathering will not place undo stress on the local population. That said, your local stand may very well benefit from occasional, thoughtful thinning.

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