Monday, May 05, 2008

Dogtooth Violet


While walking along a woodland trail yesterday we found this Dogtooth Violet almost in full bloom. Located in shaded woods and along banks of rivers and streams this beautiful spring, woodland wildflower is distinct and showy in both its leaves and bloom. Its speckled leaves give definition and under- standing to two other names it is often known as; Trout-lily or Fawn Lily. Both names, it is assumed, were derived from the speckled brown spots on the green leaves, reminding one of a Speckled Trout or a young spotted fawn.

'Violet' is a misnomer, as this wildflower is part of the lily family and not a violet at all. However I choose to continue to call it a Dogtooth Violet for that is the name I knew it as while a child searching for this much loved and favourite of early wildflowers. As mentioned above, the names of Trout Lily and Fawn Lily are understand -able appellations as the attributes of the leaves of this plant are readily suggestive of those compari -sons. Another name, Adder's Tongue also makes sense when one looks at the reddish coloured stamens of this wildflower. .

But I have wondered about the origin of the name 'Dogtooth'. The Internet is such a wonderful source of information and once beginning my search for this missing information I soon found the answer in many places. The 'dogtooth' is the unseen part of this plant, for the white 'dogtooth' shape of its root lies under the earth. The shape and colour of its root gives this wildflower its name.

11 comments:

jan m said...

I enjoy learning about wildflowers. I never knew many of the names. Thanks for sharing your information.

me and my camera said...

jan m:
I find the different names fascinating and often find that wildflowers have more than one. Thank you for your comment. I like the Dunlin photo on your blog. I have only seen that species once.

Mary said...

That is a lot of names for one plant and I'm glad you explained them! It's a beautiful flower and I can't imagine how it got the "violet" name, because it looks nothing like one in either flower or leaf. I guess most of us never see the "dogtooth" part. The fawn picture is beautiful, too and lovely for comparison.

bobbie said...

Thank you for this tidbit of information. Very interesting. And a lovely flower.

Stacey Huston said...

Beautiful. I love the spotted leaves. thanks for the info

me and my camera said...

mary:
Isn't the internet a fantastic resource! As a kid I used to be envious of those who had a set of encylopedias at home; but now just do a search and there's a world of infomation waiting out there. I was very happy to find the 'dogtooth' references.

bobbie and stacey:
I loved putting that together and sharing the information. Research is fun and rewarding too. Glad that you both enjoyed too.

Mike said...

Very interesting blooms. Love your fawn.

Becky said...

We have Adder's Tongue everywhere on our " Creek " trail. It's like small bits of sun on the woods floor.

me and my camera said...

becky:
What a lovely way of describing them! And you're right.

Island Rambles Blog said...

That was such a great combination of the fawn and the wildflower...and I enjoyed all the info on the plants...cheers

me and my camera said...

island:
Thank you, I was happy to be able to work the fawn picture in somewhere as it is one of my favourites. Glad that you enjoyed.