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Erythronium grandiflorum - Pursh.                
                 
Common Name Avalanche Lily, Yellow avalanche-lily
Family Liliaceae
Synonyms
Known Hazards Skin contact with the bulbs has been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people[65].
Habitats Sagebrush, open woodland and grassy mountain slopes, sometimes to the tree line[42, 90]. Rich moist soil along the banks of streams, shaded woods and sub-alpine meadows, often in large patches[212].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California, east to Alberta, Wyoming and Colorado.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade

Summary       

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of bulb
Erythronium grandiflorum is a BULB growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.1 m (0ft 4in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower in April, and the seeds ripen from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

USDA hardiness zone : 4-8


Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers dry or moist soil.

Erythronium grandiflorum Avalanche Lily, Yellow avalanche-lily


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund
Erythronium grandiflorum Avalanche Lily, Yellow avalanche-lily
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Wsiegmund
   
Habitats       
Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seedpod.
Edible Uses:

Bulb - raw or cooked[2, 46, 85, 105, 161, 257]. The slender bulbs, which are up to 5cm long[270], are usually harvested in the spring as the first leaves appear above ground, they can be stored for some months in a cool place[256]. 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[256]. The cooked bulb has a more starchy texture and a sweet flavour[256, 257]. Stored bulbs develop a sweeter flavour when cooked than fresh bulbs[257]. The Indians always drank water after eating the bulbs because they believed that otherwise they would get sick[256]. Large quantities can have an emetic effect[85]. The bulbs can also be dried for later use[207]. Leaves - raw or cooked[85, 106]. 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[106, 212]. The cooked pods taste like French beans[212].
Medicinal Uses


Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Skin.

The pulverized root was applied to boils and as a wet dressing on skin sores[213, 257].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers slightly acid soil conditions but succeeds in chalky soils if these contain plenty of humus[164]. Requires semi-shade, preferably provided by trees or shrubs, and a well-drained soil[42, 164]. Succeeds in almost any light soil, preferring one that is rich in humus[1]. 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[90]. Plants are best given perfect drainage[200]. Offsets are freely produced if the plant is growing well[1]. Flowers are produced in 3 - 4 years from seed[164]. Bulbs should be planted about 7cm deep[1].
                                                                                 
Propagation                                         
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[164, 200]. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification[164]. 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[1]. 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.
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Expert comment                                         
 
      
Author                                         
Pursh.
                                                                                 
Botanical References                                         
60200
                                                                                 
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[42]Grey. C. H. Hardy Bulbs.
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[85]Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains.
A superb book. Very readable, it gives the results of the authors experiments with native edible plants.
[90]Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs
Superbly illustrated, it gives brief details on cultivation and native habitat.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[106]Coon. N. The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Interesting reading but short on detail.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[164]Bird. R. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 4.
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. A good article on Yuccas, one on Sagebrush (Artemesia spp) and another on Chaerophyllum bulbosum.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[207]Coffey. T. The History and Folklore of North American Wild Flowers.
A nice read, lots of information on plant uses.
[212]Craighead. J., Craighead. F. and Davis. R. A Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers
Excellent little pocket guide to the area, covering 590 species and often giving details of their uses.
[213]Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
[256]Turner. N. J. Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples
Excellent little handbook about the native food plants of Western Canada. Good descriptions of the plants and their uses with colour photos of most plants.
[257]Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany
Very comprehensive but terse guide to the native uses of plants. Excellent bibliography, fully referenced to each plant, giving a pathway to further information. Not for the casual reader.
[270] Flora of N. America
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.

Readers comment                                         
 
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