Trout Lily - Erythronium Americanum (Liliaceae)

Medicinal Use of Trout Lily – Erythronium Americanum (Liliaceae)


Perennial growing to 10 in (25 cm) from a small, bulb like corm. Has two oblong leaves mottled with purple and a large, bright yellow lily flower.

Habitat & Cultivation

Native to North America, trout lily is found mainly in the east, from New Brunswick to Florida. It prefers damp woodland and open ground. The leaves are gathered in summer.

Parts Used



Very little is known about the constituents of this plant. It contains alpha-methylene butyrolactone.

History & Folklore

Trout lily was little used by Native Americans. European settlers considered its medicinal properties to be similar to those of meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnale). Trout lily was listed in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States from 1820 to 1863 as a treatment for gout.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

An infusion of the leaves is taken for skin problems such as ulcers and tumors, and for enlarged glands. The leaves (or the whole plant) may also be applied as a poultice for skin conditions. The fresh leaves are strongly emetic.


Take trout lily only under professional supervision.