Nature Notes

Vol. XIII September - 1935 No. 3

The Names of Two Popular Flowers

Those dainty lilies that grow so abundantly in Paradise Valley are known by various names--Avalanche Lily, Yellow Adder's Tongue, Trout-Lily, and Dog-Tooth Violet. They justify at least the most accepted name when they are found growing at the edge of snowbanks on steep slopes where slides very often occur. They also may be found in great numbers beside mountain brooks where trout might hide, but they have little or nothing in common with a violet or a dog's tooth. Their faint fragrance suggests a tulip, and as for the bulb - which for some of the lilies may have tooth-like scales - it has an egg-shaped corm, producing round off-sets from its base. Though few might recognize this plant on seeing the sharp point of the young plant darting through the ground late in June as the snows recede from the Valley, he who does will see the appropriateness of still another of its names.

avalanche lily, queen's cup

The generic name of a popular single-flowered lily, Queen's Cup, found in the cool woods of the Canadian Zone from 2,000 to 4,500 feet, is given in honor of a very practical and business-like person, DeWitt Clinton. Many have wondered why. To name bridges, roads or some sort of complex machine after him would seem appropriate enough, but why this demure flower? Were it not for this plant we should entirely forget the naturalist, Clinton, fleeing from care, like others, to pursue the study that revealed his inmost longings and deepest desire.

Earl Homuth,


AVALANCHE LILY (right) Erythronium montanum.
QUEEN'S CUP (left)
Clintonia uniflora

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