Although I’m away in the field and most entries will be brief during the next couple weeks, summer student Raakel Toppila has stepped in to help write a few entries, including today’s accompaniment to the photo. – Daniel
Erythronium montanum, or avalanche lily, can be found in subalpine meadows and coniferous forests of Washington, Oregon and southern British Columbia (distribution map). It is among twenty-nine trout lilies native to North America, (list of North American species). The plants take advantage of high soil moisture, blooming just after snow melt.
Erythronium comes for the Greek word meaning red, “erythros”. I have read that this refers to a pink-flowered species used to make dye; however, I cannot find a reliable source supporting this fact. More usefully, knowing this prefix can help when encountering other botanical names, such as erythrocalyx (red calyx), erythrocarpus (red fruit) or erythropodus (red-footed or red-stalked).