Erythronium californicum

13 May

Erythronium californicum (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Erythronium californicum (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Position: Partial shade

Flowering period: Spring

Soil: Moist, well drained

Eventual Height: 30cm

Eventual Spread: 30cm

Hardiness: 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Liliaceae

Erythronium californicum is a deciduous herbaceous, perennial with a clump forming habit. Its dark green, brown mottled  leaves appear in pairs, are lanceolate to ovate with entire margins, up to 20cm long and 8cm broad. Its white/ cream scented flowers are Lilly like, up to 6cm across and appear in groups of one to three on long, naked stalks. Its roots emerge from an oval shaped bulb which is up to 6cm wide.

Erythronium californicum, commonly known as the California Fawn Lily, is native to north California. In its native habitat it grows in mountainous moist woodlands.

The etymological root of the binomial name Erythronium is derived from the Greek erythros meaning ‘red’, as to what the red refers to in this species we are unclear. Californicum is derived from the Latin meaning ‘from California’.

The landscape architect may find Erythronium californicum useful in shady moist locations including woodlands.

Erythronium californicum Flower (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Erythronium californicum Flower (21/04/2013, Kew Gardens, London)

Ecologically,  Erythronium californicum flowers are attractive to pollinating insects.

The Royal Horticultural Society has given the species  Erythronium californicum their prestigious Award of Garden Merit in 1994.

Erythronium californicum prefers moist, humus rich fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil. It dislikes dry soils.

Erythronium californicum requires little maintenance. Large clumps may be divided after flowering.

Davis Landscape Architecture

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