Growing Bulbs: Erythronium (Dog’s Tooth Violet)
Erythroniums are commonly called Dog’s Tooth Violets because of the likeness of the little tubers to the teeth of a dog. Early spring flowering, they like a gritty soil and one containing, or old manure. Shady places suit them and they will grow in damp, but not wet, positions. They should be planted 4 to 6 in. deep or a little deeper where the soil is light. Once in the ground they need not be disturbed for some years for they will multiply quickly.
The leaves of most varieties are prettily splashed with light and dark markings and the nodding blooms are often produced singly, with occasionally two or three per stem. Of the species, Erythronium albidum is creamy white. Erythronium americanum has golden-yellow flowers on 18-in. stems and, contrary to the others, thrives in full sun, while Erythronium hendersonii produces beautiful lavender-pink blooms with maroon centres in March and April on 6-in. Branching flower stems.
Other reliable species on 9-in. stems include Erythronium grandiflorum, rich yellow with prominent red stamens; Erythronium revolutum with large pinkish-purple flowers and its varieties albiflorum, creamy white, and Pink Beauty, a real gem. The European Dog’s Tooth Violet, Erythronium denscanis, has a number of forms varying in height from 4 to 6 in. flowering in March and April. When established, a mixture of these erythroniums will give an unusual and pleasing display in the front of the border, theor in grass and among shrubs.