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Toxic parts

Skin contact with the bulbs has been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people[1].

Edible uses


Bulb - raw or cooked[2][3][4][5][6]. The bulbs are usually harvested in the spring as the first leaves appear above ground, they can be stored for some months in a cool place[7]. The raw bulb has a slightly bitter milky taste, the texture is cool and moist inside and so the North American Indians liked eating them on hot days[7]. The cooked bulb has a more starchy texture and a sweet flavour[7][6]. Stored bulbs develop a sweeter flavour when cooked than fresh bulbs[6]. The Indians always drank water after eating the bulbs because they believed that otherwise they would get sick[7]. Large quantities can have an emetic effect[4]. The bulbs can also be dried for later use[8].

Leaves - raw or cooked[4][9]. Eating the leaves will greatly reduce the vigour of the bulb, so can only be recommended in times of emergency[K].

Young seedpods - raw or cooked[9][10]. The cooked pods taste like French beans[10].



Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Erythronium grandiflorum.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

The pulverized root was applied to boils and as a wet dressing on skin sores[11][6].

Unknown part


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Water lightly in summer, it should germinate in autumn or winter[12][13]. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification[12]. Sow as early in spring as possible in a cold frame. Sow the seed thinly so that it will not be necessary to prick them out for their first year of growth. Give an occasional liquid feed to the seedlings to make sure that they do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants are dormant, pot up the small bulbs putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for another 2 3 years and then plant them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant in late summer. Division of the bulbs in the summer as the leaves die down[14]. Larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up smaller bulbs and grow them on in a shady position in a greenhouse for a year before planting them out when dormant in late summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Erythronium grandiflorum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Prefers slightly acid soil conditions but succeeds in chalky soils if these contain plenty of humus[12]. Requires semi-shade, preferably provided by trees or shrubs, and a well-drained soil[15][12]. Succeeds in almost any light soil, preferring one that is rich in humus[14]. Not an easy species to grow in Britain, it prefers a well-drained soil that is wet in spring but rather dry in the summer[16]. Plants are best given perfect drainage[13].

Offsets are freely produced if the plant is growing well[14]. Flowers are produced in 3 - 4 years from seed[12].

Bulbs should be planted about 7cm deep[14].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Erythronium grandiflorum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Erythronium grandiflorum.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Erythronium grandiflorum
Imported References
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
partial shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.1 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
    4. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World. Keigaku Publishing (1976-00-00)
    6. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    7. ? Turner. N. J. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples UBC Press. Vancouver. ISBN 0-7748-0533-1 (1995-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.1 Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers. Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-2624-6 (1993-00-00)
    9. ? Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-090-x (1975-00-00)
    10. ? Craighead. J., Craighead. F. and Davis. R. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers The Riverside Press ISBN 63-7093 (1963-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
    12. ? Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan. (1990-00-00)
    13. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    14. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    15. ? Grey. C. H. Hardy Bulbs. Williams & Norgate. (1938-00-00)
    16. ? Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30253-1 (1989-00-00)
    17. ? Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PFAFimport-60