Trout lily; also known as yellow snowdrop, yellow fawn-lily, Yellow adder’s tongue lily and dog-tooth lily or violet; perennial.
Family: Lily (Liliaceae)
Flower: Yellow, nodding, 6 petals that are really 3 petals and 3 petal-like sepals, lance-shaped, spreading open; May.
Leaves: Two broad brownish or purplish-blotched and mottled basal leaves; parallel veins; sterile plants have 1 leaf while fertile plants have 2 leaves.
Stem: Flowering stem grows from a bulb.
Height: 5 to 25 cm.
Habitat: Grows in damp, open woodlands.
Interest: Forms a colony of 1-leaved sterile shoots with no flowers and a few 2-leaved fertile plants with flowers. The mottled leaves resemble the skin pattern of a brook trout. The Trout Lily is pollinated by ants, and after a seed is planted, it takes up to seven years for a mature plant to grow and flower. Trout Lily has a fascinating seed dispersal mechanism – its seeds are dispersed by ants through a process called myrmecochory (pronounced “mirme ko ko re”). Attached to the outside of the seeds is a fleshy structure called an elaiosome. The elaiosome is rich in oils and proteins. Ants carry the seed to their nest and feed the elaiosome to their larvae. The remaining seed is discarded in the ant’s nutrient-rich waste pile. This symbiotic relationship benefits the ant, which gets a food source, and benefits the plant because the seed is dispersed, is protected from rodents, and is placed in a nutrient rich area in the ants nest where the seed has a greater likelihood of growing.
Location: Algonquin Provincial Park, On, Canada
Canon EOS 1D Mark IV
Shutter Speed: 1/500 sec.
Copyright: Yannik Hay
Lens: EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM@200mm