Fawn Lily (Erythronium californicum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Fawn Lily
Erythronium californicum
Liliaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    None known

  • Edible Use

    The following use has been noted for the closely related E. origonum and probably also applies to this species[K], which has a corm 35 – 50mm long[71]:-

    Bulb – raw, cooked or dried for later use[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no records of toxicity have been seen for this species, the following notes have been seen for another member of this genus and so some caution is advised. 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]. This species is hardy to at least -15¡c[200]. Plants are growing and spreading well in the light shade of a woodland garden at Kew[K]. There are some named varieties selected for their ornamental value, though some of these are also more valuable as food plants since they spread well in Britain[258]. Bulbs should be planted about 7cm deep[1]. Closely related to E. helenae, E. origonum, E. citrinum and E. howellii[207].
South-western N. America – California.

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.