Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

By: Frankie

I have been stumbling upon many patches of Trout Lily this spring and this past Monday I have finally found some that have sprouted their beautiful yellow flowers! Trout Lilly can also have white flowers as well but they are a little less common. The name, Trout Lily, comes from its leaves that resemble the patterns of a Brook Trout and also emerges during trout fishing season. Its beautiful spotted mint green leaves is what first caught my attention during the early months of spring. The two top pictures were taken at the end of March and the flowering pictures were taken yesterday. The leaves have a very fresh, sweet taste almost like a crisp cucumber!

Ecological notes: These particular pictures were taken at Niquette Bay about 20 minutes north on I-89. The weather has been very warm these past coupe of weeks, with some days reaching into the 80's! The soil in which these Trout Lily's were found in was pretty dry in a semi-shaded area. This is an ideal habitat for Trout Lily. The leaves have a very smooth texture to them and the flowers are bright yellow with a darker, beige colors on the outside.

Medicinal Uses: Trout Lily can supposedly reduce swollen glands and fever by drinking a tea made from its root and leaves. It is also said that the plant had been used to dress wounds from its crushed leaves and is believed to be mildly emetic and antibiotic. Trout Lily was also used by the Cherokee and Iroquois as a contraceptive, to reduce swelling and as a diuretic. The plant also includes alph-methylene-butyrolactone, which is produces "antimutagenic activity". The chemical prevents cell mutation and could be a viable weapon in fighting cancers.

I also found some folklore on Trout Lily that said the Cherokee used to chew the plant's root and spit the juice back into the water in hopes of getting fish to bite!

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