Erythronium dens-canis

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Dog's tooth violet
Erythronium dens-canis AT2.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Subfamily: Lilioideae
Tribe: Lilieae
Genus: Erythronium
E. dens-canis
Binomial name
Erythronium dens-canis

Erythronium dens-canis, the 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.


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]

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.


  1. ^ a b The Plant List
  2. ^ "BSBI List 2007". Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2014-10-23. 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". Plants for a future. Retrieved 26 July 2013.

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