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Erythronium - Dogtooth Violets and Fawn Lilies

Updated on August 16, 2016

Rare spring bulbs

Erythroniums combine a hot-house exoticism with a woodland constitution. With long tapering petals swept back from colorful hearts and long stamens, flowers are held on graceful arching stems. Flowering mostly in April and May, they look wonderful under trees, where they'll sparkle in the soft slanting spring sunshine and thrive and spread in the loamy soil.

Other plus points include handsome foliage, sometimes marbled and speckled with bronze or white, but always thick and velvety, a wonderful range of translucent colors, from silvery white, through to palest lemon and on to deep lavender, and heights of up to 50cm (20") - these are no shrinking violets. They really are a cut above other spring bulbs.

Erythronium citrinum
Erythronium citrinum

Erythronium citrinum

Citrus Fawn Lily

Erythronium citrinum has exquisite golden-centered pale lemon flowers held on 20cm (8") stems above broad brown and green marbled leaves.

Sometimes its flowers are white.

Erythronium dens canis Snow Flake
Erythronium dens canis Snow Flake

Erythronium dens-canis 'Snowflake'

White Dogtooth Violet

A white form of the ever popular E. dens-canis, 'Snowflake' has smaller flowers on shorter stems, but it's still a beauty. Best planted up high where it can be seen.

Erythronium dens-canis
Erythronium dens-canis

Erythronium dens canis

Dogtooth Volet

A popular variety, Erythronium dens-canis has long pointed petals swept back from a brown center with long protruding stamens. It comes in white, pink and lilac. Flowers are held on stems up to 40cm (16") above green and brown marbles leaves, which grow in pairs.

It is named after its roots, which are shaped like a dog's tooth.

Erythronium multiscapoideum
Erythronium multiscapoideum

Erythronium multiscapoideum

Sierra Fawn Lily

A charming wildflower from California, Erythronium multiscapoideum has open star-shaped flowers with gently re-curved white petals and a golden heart.

Erythronium oregonum Sulphur
Erythronium oregonum Sulphur

Erythronium oregonum 'Sulphur'

Yellow Dogtooth Violet, Fawn Lily

Absolutely lovely sulphur-yellow flowers and rich mottled foliage make this one of the best Erythroniums.

Erythronium Pagoda
Erythronium Pagoda

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

Yellow Fawn Lily

Erythronium 'Pagoda' is a popular tall Fawn Lily with a vigorous free-flowering habit and luminous lily-like yellow flowers, with delicate green veins, which fade and smudge over time. Foliage is rich green and lightly marbled.

Height is up to 40cm (16").

Erythronium 'Spindlestone'
Erythronium 'Spindlestone'

Erythronium 'Spindlestone'

Yellow Fawn Lily

Free-flowering buttercup yellow variety with spidery petals, glowing hearts and handsome broad green leaves.

Erythronium hendersonii
Erythronium hendersonii

Erythronium hendersonii

Fawn Lily

If you must have one only Erythronium, this is it. Silver mauve petals, a deep lavender heart and lots and lots of flowers make Erythronium hendersonii stand out.

Erythronium americanum

Trout Lily

This North American wildflower has burgundy-mottled leaves and dainty flowers, which range from pure white, through cream to deep yellow. In spring long petals unfurl from bell-shaped buds to reveal long brown stamens.

Erythronium Companions

Spring-flowering bulbs and plants

As erythroniums like a bit of shade, they're good with other spring-flowering shade-tolerant plants. Columbine, crocus and some daylilies, daffodils and species tulips fit the bill.


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    • sebastian1234 profile image


      7 years ago

      I really like the looks of the fawn lily. I don't have much of a green thumb but i try. Informative lens.


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