We decided to take a trip over to Wilmore today, since this weekend was the first warm weekend to date. We were anxious and eager to find some Spring favorites, and I think we did just that!
The Trout Lilies are now out in full force. I don’t feel so bad about digging them up now that there are a few million of them to go around. They are named for their speckled leaves that resemble the markings of a trout. You will find them in rich, moist forests. They will most likely begin blooming in late March/early April each year.
White Trout Lily Full Bloom Closeup w/ bulb
Yellow Trout Lilies in Full Bloom
Forest Overview w/ thousands of Lilies!!!
Mix of White and Yellow Lilies
Yellow Trout Lily Flower Closeup
White Trout Lily Flower Closeup
Trout Lilies (Erythronium americanum/albidium) are 100% edible. The bulbs, which are the most desirable part of the plant, have a flavor similar to corn. The flowers are tasty too, but some people think they have a slightly spicy flavor. As far as the leaves go, I do not like them eaten raw. I think they have a very weedy taste, similar to chickweed. I have not tried them cooked yet, but Sam Thayer (Forager’s Harvest) even agrees they wouldn’t be any more palatable cooked than they are raw.
When harvesting trout lilies, keep in mind that digging the bulb kills the plant, so if they aren’t particularly abundant in your area you might want to consider just having a taste. Digging the bulbs is seriously tedious work but it is worth it. Trout lilies are only available for a short time in early spring so get them while you can!