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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Liliaceae | Erythronium

22. Erythronium mesochoreum Knerr, Midland College Monthly. 2: 5. 1891. (as “messachoreum,” corrected by Knerr, Trans. Kansas Acad. Sci. 13: 20. 1891).

Prairie trout-lily

Erythronium albidum Nuttall var. coloratum Sterns; E. albidum var. mesochoreum (Knerr) Rickett

Bulbs ovoid to ± globose, 10–25 mm; stolons absent; flowering plants reproducing vegetatively by droppers or offshoots. Leaves 5–14 cm; blade green, usually not mottled, elliptic-lanceolate to ovate-lanceolate, conduplicate, glaucous, base and margins sometimes purple-brown, margins even. Scape 5–15 cm. Inflorescences 1-flowered. Flowers: tepals spreading at anthesis, white, tinged pink, blue, or lavender abaxially, with yellow adaxial spot at base, lanceolate, 15–30 mm, auricles absent; stamens 8–15 mm; filaments yellow, lanceolate; anthers yellow; pollen yellow; style white, 7–10 mm; stigma lobes recurving, 1–1.5 mm. Capsules resting on ground at maturity due to reclining peduncle, obovoid, 10–15 mm, apex rounded to faintly apiculate or umbilicate. 2n = 22.

Flowering spring. Prairies, glades, dry, open woods, occasionally pastures; 100--700 m; Ark., Ill., Iowa, Kans., Mo., Nebr., Okla., Tex.

Because stolons are absent in Erythronium mesochoreum, most plants in a population produce flowers; nonflowering plants may sometimes appear after flowering plants have flowered. This species is well adapted to prairie fires. The seeds have elaiosomes, and ants may act as dispersal agents (Great Plains Flora Association 1986). C. C. Deam et al. (1941) reported E. mesochoreum from Indiana, but an examination of the specimens cited, now at IND, showed that these are E. albidum. E. L. Braun (1967) reported that many populations of E. albidum in southwestern Ohio indicate introgression with “the Ozarkean var. mesochoreum….” However, personal observation by K. R. Robertson of several Ohio populations in flower confirmed that these plants are true E. albidum, although they occur in prairies and have more or less conduplicate leaves.


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