Plant Data Sheet

Erythronium oregonum



Species (common name, Latin name) –White fawn lily, Erythronium oregonum


Range – British Columbia to California (USDA, 2003)


Climate, elevation – Moist woods, often on alluvial soils, and open gravelly prairies.  The species is generally found at low elevations (Plants for a Future, 2000). 


Local occurrence (where, how common) – White fawn lily is found throughout the Olympic Peninsula, except on the northeastern corner (Polar and Mackinnon 1994).  Its presence throughout its range is rapidly declining (Stewart, 1994).


Habitat preferences – White fawn lily inhabits well-drained soils in open, often grassy areas and rocky woodlands that are open to fairly dense (Polar and Mackinnon 1994).  


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional) – An early successional species, it is often found under open canopies.


Associated species – The species of interest is often found with Camassia quamash, Quercus garyanna, Symphoricarpos albus, Mahonia aquifolium, Dactylis glomerata, Polystichum munitum, Holodiscus discolor, and Vicia sativa.


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.) – Seed or Bulb


Collection restrictions or guidelines - Divide bulbs in the summer as the leaves die down (Chittendon, 1956). Larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot smaller bulbs and grow them on in a shady position in a greenhouse for a year before planting them out when dormant in late summer. Just a warning… The bulbs have been suspected of poisoning poultry.  Skin contact with the bulbs has been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people (Plants for our Future, 2000).


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?) - Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification (Chittendon, 1956). Sow as early in spring as possible in a cold frame.


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life) - Seeds are best sown as soon as they are ripe, in a shady position in a cold frame (Bird, 1990). 


Recommended seed storage conditions -


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.) – The plant flowers from March to June (Stewart 1994). By seed, allow the seeds to ripen and fall to the ground or sow them in containers (  Erythronium species have unusual below-ground structures.  They have a bulb with only one scale, and a segmented corm that is made of round annual segments (Polar and Mackinnon 1994).   The plants can be divided when the leaves have died down ( The bulbs should be planted about 7cm deep (Chittendon, 1956). 

Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?) –White fawn lily requires moist soil. Prefers slightly acid soil conditions but succeeds in chalky soils if they contain plenty of humus. Requires semi-shade, preferably provided by trees or shrubs, and a well-drained soil (Bird, 1990; Hendricks, 2001).

Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost) – Propagation from both bulbs and seed have been successful. 


Recommended planting density - Sow the seed thinly so that it will not be necessary to thin them out for their first year of growth. (Bird, 1990).  If you are planting bulbs, when the plants are dormant, pot the small bulbs by putting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for another 2-3 years and then plant them out into their permanent positions when they are dormant in late summer.


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.) – Occasionally, give a liquid feed to the seedlings to make sure that they do not become nutrient deficient. Water lightly in summer, it should germinate in autumn or winter (Bird, 1990).


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan - 


Sources cited


Bird, R. 1990. Growing from Seed. Volume 4. Thompson and Morgan.


Chittendon, F. 1956. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. Oxford University Press.


Hendricks Park.  2001.  Native Plant Alternatives for Landscaping.  Hendricks Park Forest Management Plan. 


Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon.  1994.  Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast:  Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Alaska.  B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, British Columbia. 


Plants For A Future: Database Search Results Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future - Species Database. Copyright (c) 1997-2000.
WEB search engine by Rich Morris - Home Page- Contact Info
Plants for a Future, Blagdon Cross, Ashwater, Beaworthy,
Devon, EX21 5DF, UK.


Stewart, C. 1994. Wildflowers of the Olympics and Cascades. Nature Education Enterprises.  Port Angeles, Washington.


USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN). [Online Database] National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Available: (05 May 2003)


Data compiled by (student name and date) – Daniela Shebitz, 5/5/03