Erythronium dens-canis

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dog's tooth violet
Erythronium dens-canis and anemone nemorosa.jpg
Erythronium dens-canis (right)
and Anemone hepatica ( left)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Erythronium
Species: E. dens-canis
Binomial name
Erythronium dens-canis
  • Erythronium bifidum Sweet
  • Erythronium bulbosum St.-Lag.
  • Erythronium caninum Dulac
  • Erythronium latifolium Schur
  • Erythronium longifolium Mill.
  • Erythronium maculatum DC.
  • Erythronium maculosum Lam.
  • Erythronium niveum (Baumg.) Pînzaru
  • Erythronium niveum var. pedemontanum Pînzaru
  • Erythronium obtusiflorum Opiz
  • Erythronium ovatifolium Poir.
  • Erythronium vernale Salisb.

Erythronium dens-canis (common name dog's tooth violet or dogtooth violet) is a bulbous herbaceous perennial flowering plant in the family Liliaceae, growing to 25 cm (10 in). It is native to central and southern Europe from Portugal to Ukraine.[2] It is the only naturally occurring species of Erythronium in its native range. Despite its common name, it is not closely related to the true violets of genus Viola.[3]


Erythronium dens-canis produces a solitary white, pink or lilac flower at the beginning of spring. The petals (growing to approx. 3 cm) are reflexed at the top and yellow tinted at the base. The brown spotted leaves are ovate to lanceolate and grow in pairs. The white bulb is oblong and resembles a dog's tooth, hence the common name "dog's tooth violet" and the Latin specific epithet dens-canis, which translates as "dog's tooth".[4][5]


Erythronium dens-canis is found in damp, lightly shaded settings such as deciduous woodland. It is also widely cultivated and has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[6]


Its leaves may be consumed raw in salad, or boiled as a leaf vegetable. The bulb is also the source of a starch used in making vermicelli.[7]


  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  3. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  4. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315. 
  5. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 305.
  6. ^ "Erythronium dens-canis". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "Erythronium dens-canis". Plants for a future. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dog's tooth violet (Erythronium dens-canis).