Erythronium dens-canis

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dog's tooth violet
Erythronium dens-canis AT2.JPG
Erythronium dens-canis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Erythronium
Species: E. dens-canis
Binomial name
Erythronium dens-canis

Erythronium dens-canis (common name dog's-tooth-violet[2] 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.[3] It is the only naturally occurring species of Erythronium in Europe. Despite its common name, it is not closely related to the true violets of genus Viola.[4]


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".[5][6]


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.[7]


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.[8]

varieties formerly included[1]

Numerous names have been coined at the varietal level for plants once considered to be included within Erythronium dens-canis. None of the European varieties is now recognized as meriting recognition but some of the Asian species are now regarded as distinct species. We provide links to help you find appropriate information.


  1. ^ a b The Plant List
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-01-25. Retrieved 2014-10-17. 
  3. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  4. ^ RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  5. ^ Harrison, Lorraine (2012). RHS Latin for gardeners. United Kingdom: Mitchell Beazley. p. 224. ISBN 9781845337315. 
  6. ^ Linnaeus, Carl von. 1753. Species Plantarum 1: 305.
  7. ^ "Erythronium dens-canis". Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Erythronium dens-canis". Plants for a future. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 

External links[edit]