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PAL Questions: 1 - Garden Tools:
Do deer commonly eat erythronium (dogtooth lily)? I enjoy them (the plants) in a semi-protected area near the house, but would like to put them in with ferns in an area where we know deer have eaten other plants. I don't want to spend the effort and money this fall if it is something they love.
There is probably no plant that deer won't at least try once. Unfortunately, it looks like Erythronium is considered a delicacy, according to this U.S. Forest Service page on Erythronium grandiflorum, a species called glacier lily, but the same genus as dogtooth lily. Here is an excerpt:
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE :
Glacier lily is an important forage for grizzly bears, which dig for the corms in spring. Ground squirrels will also feed on corms. Foliage is grazed by large ungulates such as sheep and cattle. In an Idaho study, glacier lily made up the bulk of mule deer diets during May.
In Idaho, mule deer ate disproportionate amounts of glacier lily compared to its availability, suggesting there was some preference for the lily. Bears will stray from their normal course of travel along ridges to seek out glacier lily corms. Glacier lily provides fair to poor forage for cattle, sheep, and horses, and fair graze for small mammals, deer, and elk.
There are lists available of plants deer "won't" eat (or won't like, once having tried them). Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife's Living with Wildlife website (based on the book of the same name by Russell Link) has additional information. If you scroll down, you will find a list of "Deer-Proof (or close to it) Plants for Washington Landscapes."
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March 22 2017 13:26:25