Erythronium albidum

White Trout Lily


Out of Stock

Bare Root Plants
Out of Stock

Trout Lily has tulip-like green leaves with silvery-maroon mottled markings. The plants will spread slowly to form colonies, but can take many years to flower. A single, very attractive flower will bloom for just a few days on mature plants early in the spring. The plant will fade into dormancy by mid-summer. Simply having a shade site is not enough; consider this plant only if you have a moist, yet well-drained site, typical of a rich, humus woodland. Soils that do not drain well or have a heavy clay component are not ideal and the Trout Lily will likely not thrive.

Also called Dog Tooth Violets, these lovely spring ephemerals are just what you need to see after a long, dreary winter. White Trout Lilies are spreaders. Their underground roots will bud off new plants and in only a few seasons, a couple plants can spread into many. Trout Lilies offer pollinators a much needed meal during a time when little else is available. What is even more impressive is the impact that Trout Lilies can have on their neighbors. Known as the vernal dam hypothesis, research shows that spring wildflowers like Trout Lily actually serve as nutrient pools for the entire forest. Without plants like Trout Lily, spring rains would saturate the soil, where it would then run off into local waterways, taking with it valuable nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. Because Trout Lilies grow well at low soil temperatures, they actually take up nutrients that would otherwise be lost during this time. When the warmer summer weather hits and the leaves die back, they then release a lot of nutrients back into soil where vigorously growing plants are ready to take it up. By choosing Trout Lilies for your landscape you are giving back to the surrounding plant communities more than you may realize!

*This species from seed may be difficult and/or slow to germinate.  Please note the germination code on the right. We are quoting William Cullina of the New England Wildflower Society and his book Guide to Growing and Propagating Wildflowers : "...they are certainly slow [from seed].  Germination is two-stage, with roots and bulb forming in fall and the thin, grasslike cotyledon emerging the following spring.  It is best to leave the seedlings undisturbed for a year or two, then transfer them in the fall to larger containers or a growing bed.  They will take up to five years to reach blooming size." 

*This species may be difficult and/or slow to germinate and grow to maturity. Please note the germination code. Seed of this species is kept under refrigeration (33-38 F) in our warehouse.  The days in transit to you in colder or warmer conditions won’t harm the seed, but it should be put back in refrigeration until you are ready to plant or apply pre-sowing treatment.

Live Plant Shipping Table

Spring Summer Fall Age/Size
Dormant Bare Roots
April/May August October 1-2 years

Erythronium albidum - White Trout Lily

Map Key

Present in state
Present but introduced in county
Present and native in county; not rare
Not present in state
Present and native in county; rare
Species extirpated (historic)
State or county listed as noxious
Present in state; exotic

This map shows the native and introduced (adventive) range of this species. Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.

2 Questions asked on Erythronium albidum

When would the best time be to sow this seed, if sowed outdoors in a small nursery pot?
Hi Matthew, For this species, it is best if you can plant when the seed is fresh, as soon as you can (Germination Code L). Be sure to have patience with this conservative plant; if sowed this spring, the earliest you can expect to see germination is 2 years from now (Germination Code F). I should also note that it can be quite challenging to grow perennials in containers for a long period of time. We recommend planting directly into the soil whenever possible.
How would you recommend keeping seeds at 80° for 60-90 days for breaking double dormancy? I have a 1'x2' tray with a humidity dome and a seedling heating mat of the same size, but I'm not certain that would be warm enough.
Hi Lulu. White Trout Lily requires a moist, warm environment around 80°F - your heating mat and dome should keep the seed tray close enough to that temperature goal. As summer heats up, you could also try placing your setup outside or near a sunny window. Be sure to keep an eye on moisture levels. The more consistent the temperature, the closer you can stick to the 60 day end of the timeline. But if you prefer, those seeds can be kept in the warm, moist strat for the entire summer.


Growing your own plants from seed is the most economical way to add natives to your home. Before you get started, one of the most important things to know about the seeds of wild plants is that many have built-in dormancy mechanisms that prevent the seed from germinating. In nature, this prevents a population of plants from germinating all at once, before killing frosts, or in times of drought. To propagate native plants, a gardener must break this dormancy before seed will grow.

Each species is different, so be sure to check the GERMINATION CODE listed on the website, in the catalog, or on your seed packet. Then, follow the GERMINATION INSTRUCTIONS prior to planting. Some species don't need any pre-treatment to germinate, but some species have dormancy mechanisms that must be broken before the seed will germinate. Some dormancy can be broken in a few minutes, but some species take months or even years.

Seed dormancy can be broken artificially by prolonged refrigeration of damp seed in the process of cold/moist STRATIFICATION. A less complicated approach is to let nature handle the stratifying through a dormant seeding, sowing seeds on the surface of a weed-free site in late fall or winter. Tucked safely beneath the snow, seeds will be conditioned by weathering to make germination possible in subsequent growing seasons.

To learn more, read our BLOG: How to Germinate Native Seeds

Dormant Bare Root Plants

We dig plants when they are dormant from our outdoor beds and ship them April-May and October. Some species go dormant in the summer and we can ship them July/August. We are among the few still employing this production method, which is labor intensive but plant-friendly. They arrive to you dormant, with little to no top-growth (bare-root), packed in peat moss. They should be planted as soon as possible. Unlike greenhouse-grown plants, bare-root plants can be planted during cold weather or anytime the soil is not frozen. A root photo is included with each species to illustrate the optimal depth and orientation. Planting instructions/care are also included with each order.

Download: Installing Your Bare-Root Plants

Potted Plants

3-packs and trays of 32, 38, or 50 plants leave our Midwest greenhouses based on species readiness (being well-rooted for transit) and order date; Spring shipping is typically early May through June, and Fall shipping is mid-August through September. Potted 3-packs and trays of 38 plugs are started from seed in the winter so are typically 3-4 months old when they ship. Trays of 32/50 plugs are usually overwintered so are 1 year old. Plant tray cells are approximately 2” wide x 5” deep in the trays of 38 and 50, and 2.5" wide x 3.5" deep in the 3-packs and trays of 32; ideal for deep-rooted natives. Full-color tags and planting & care instructions are included with each order.

Download: Planting and Care of Potted Plants

*PLEASE NOTE: we are a mail order nursery and have no retail facilities, but you may pick up your order if prior arrangements are made. Pick up orders are subject to **MN Sales Tax.

Shipping & Handling Charges

SEED $100.00 and under: $5.00
Retail SEED orders over $100.00 ship free!

Custom seed mixes or discounted seed sales over $100, add 5% of the total seed cost
(for orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required)

BARE ROOT and POTTED PLANTS $50.00 and under: $9.00
over $50.00: 18% of the total plant cost. (For orders over $1,000 a package signature may be required.)

TOOLS and BOOKS have the shipping fee included in the cost of the product (within the contiguous US).

**We are required to collect state sales tax in certain states. Your state's eligibility and % will be calculated at checkout. MN State Sales Tax of 7.375% is applied for orders picked up at our MN location. Shipping & handling charges are also subject to the sales tax.

Shipping Season

SEED, TOOLS and BOOKS are sent year-round. Most orders ship within 1-3 business days.

BARE ROOT PLANTS are shipped during optimal transplanting time: Spring (April-May) and Fall (Oct). Some ephemeral species are also available for summer shipping. Since our plants are field-grown, Nature sets the schedule each year as to when our season will begin and end. We fill all orders, on a first-come, first-serve basis, to the best of our ability depending on weather conditions beyond our control.

POTTED PLANTS (Trays of 32/38/50 plugs and 3-packs) typically begin shipping early May and go into June; shipping time is heavily dependent on all the species in your order being well-rooted. If winter-spring greenhouse growing conditions are favorable and all species are well-rooted at once, then we ship by order date (first come, first serve). We are a Midwest greenhouse, and due to the challenges of getting all the species in the Mix & Match and Pre-Designed Garden Kits transit-ready at the same time, we typically can't ship before early May. Earlier shipment requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

*We are unable to ship PLANTS (bare root or potted) outside the contiguous US or to CALIFORNIA due to regulations.


We ship using USPS, UPS and Spee Dee. UPS and Spee Dee are often used for expediting plant orders; they will not deliver to Post Office Box numbers, so please also include your street address if ordering plants. We send tracking numbers to your email address so please include it when you order.



Germination Code
Life Cycle
Perennial, Ephemeral
Sun Exposure
Soil Moisture
Medium-Wet, Medium
6 inches
Bloom Time
April, May
Bloom Color
Deer Resistant
Highly recommended for home landscaping
USDA Zones
Plant Spacing
Catalog Code