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.