Edible Trout Lily

Trout Lily BlossomEvery Spring as I walk in the woods I notice a ground plant who’s leaf stands out from the rest. It appears waxy exhibiting a muted green background color with earth-toned spots splattered across its surface. Sometimes the colors are reversed but always with it’s unique recognizable pattern. It is called a trout lily but may also be known as “yellow trout lily” or “yellow dogtooth violet”. It is usually found spread out in patches. This perennial plant emerges with a single leaf and as it matures produces a second leaf with a single yellow blossom. Towards the end of the season the blossom turns into a seed pod.

I always enjoy this plant’s beauty and uniqueness but have only recently learned that it is also edible. Like other plants their younger shoots are more pleasant than those of older plants to eat. The leaves are slightly sweet along with a slight “grassy” taste common to most wildcraft edibles. It has an edible small bulb (or corm) that can be found 2-5 inches below the surface. It is suggested that the leaves and bulbs should be harvested sparingly as this plant is slow to reproduce.

Trout Lily Seed Pod 
As a medicinal plant it is an emetic and can be used to cause vomiting but small to moderate amounts can be consumed safely and are quite tasty. It makes a nice treat as you wander in the woods.

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