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This perennial plant is about 4-6" tall, consisting of 1-2 basal leaves and a flowering stalk with a single flower. Immature plants produce a single leaf and fail to flower, while mature plants that bloom produce a pair of leaves. The basal leaves are up to 6" long and 2" across. They are elliptic, lanceolate, or narrowly ovate, and smooth (entire) along their margins. The upper leaf surface is mottled pale green and brownish or grayish green, while the lower leaf surface is pale to medium green. Both leaf surfaces are glabrous; the upper leaf surface is often waxy. The leaves often curve upward slightly from the midvein to the margins. A naked flowering stalk develops between the basal leaves of mature plants. This stalk is light green to reddish brown and glabrous; it nods downward at its apex, where the flower occurs. Each nodding flower is about 1½" long and across; it consists of 6 white tepals, 6 stamens with long yellow anthers, and a slender style with a stigma that has 3 lobes that spread outward. The tepals are linear-lanceolate and strongly recurved, while the stamens and style are exerted. The blooming period occurs during mid-spring and lasts about 2 weeks. Each fertilized flower is replaced by a 3-chambered seed capsule that is ovoid and about ¾" long. Each chamber of the seed capsule contains 2 rows of flattened seeds. The root system consists of a corm that is several inches below the surface of the ground; this corm produces fibrous roots at its base and occasionally sends out underground stolons that can form new plants a few inches away from the mother plant. White Trout Lily can produce large colonies of plants if it is left undisturbed for several decades. Cultivation


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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