Erythronium albidum Nutt.

Erythronium albidum plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - Ariel stems to +15cm tall, glabrous, erect, herbaceous, simple, from bulblike corm.

Leaves - Two per flowering plant, one in non-flowering plants, linear-elliptic to oblanceolate, entire, acute, glabrous, green and glaucous below, mottled with purple above, to 4cm broad, +/-10cm long.

Erythronium albidum plant

Inflorescence - Single nodding flower terminating aerial stem.

Flower - Petals and sepals white internally, typically with lilac tinge externally, reflexed when mature, linear-oblong, entire, 6mm broad, +3cm long, glabrous. Stamens 6, adnate to base of petals and sepals, erect, exserted. Filaments flattened, +1mm broad. Anthers yellow, 6mm long. Style white, to 1.5cm long, exserted. Stigmas 3, to 3mm long. Ovary superior, 3-locular, ovules many. Fruit to 2.5cm long, weekly 3-angled, glabrous.

Erythronium albidum flower

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Low woods, wooded slopes, ravines.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - The leaves of this small lily can be variable. Some leaves have heavy dark mottling, others have faint to no mottling. The leaves, however, are usually always glaucous below.
This plant is quite common in most of the state but is more frequent below the Missouri river. It grows in shaded areas of the habitats mentioned above. The species is a good indicator that spring is arriving, being one of the first plants to bloom. Non-flowering plants can be found in large colonies and have a single leaf.

Photographs taken at Reform Conservation Area, Callaway County, MO., 3-24-04.


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