Dog’s-Tooth Violet (Erythronium dens-canis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Dog's-Tooth Violet
Erythronium dens-canis

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    Bulb – raw or cooked and used as a vegetable[46]. It can be dried to make a flour[22, 46, 61] and is also the source of a starch used in making ‘vermicelli’ and cakes[183].

    Leaves – cooked[46, 61, 183]. Eating the leaves will greatly reduce the vigour of the bulb, so can only be recommended in times of emergency[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Skin contact with the bulbs has been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

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.
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]. Thrives in light grass[90, 200]. This species does not flower very freely, increasing mainly by its stoloniferous habit[164]. Flowers are produced in 3 – 4 years from seed[164]. Bulbs should be planted about 7cm deep[1]. There are many named forms, selected for their ornamental value[207]. Many of these cultivars have a habit to divide freely to form clumps containing many small non-flowering bulbs[257]. To remedy this, the bulbs should be lifted and divided, replanting them singly about 10cm below soil level[258].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.