Yellow Adders Tongue, or…

2015-04-14-082026-1speckledTrout450…Trout Lily. And there are other common names as well for this familiar if short-lived flower of spring we find along Nameless Creek.

It blooms about the time trout season opens; its leaves have a speckled pattern like native trout (if there were any of those left in Nameless or Goose Creek.) So those facts might have contributed to the common name.

It does have edible tubers–if you’re willing to dig way way deep in the black and often rocky soil where they grow–often besides trout streams–like Goose Creek used to be before the deep scour holes filled with silt from roads, fields and construction sites upstream.

This is tough plant to get a good image of. It grows very close to the ground, is often facing same, and has enough depth that something is always going to be out of focus unless you have a good macro lens and maybe a small tripod.

Also, only the plants that have been around long enough to acquire two leaves will produce a flower. One-leaved (far more common) are only vegetative for a year or more.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. or dog-toothed violet and probably a dozen other names. I always thought it was called trout lily because its appearance usually coincides with the start of trout season. The leaves sure don’t look like a speckled trout to me!

  2. iPhone handheld, Camera Plus app, Macro setting. It’s a pretty impressive little tool. And it’s always in my pocket. The best camera to use is the one that you have with you, they say.

  3. Photo taken with an IPhone… amazing! Apparently, I need more education about how to use my IPhone to best advantage. “Camera Plus app and Macro setting.” I will have to figure that out… or get some help to figure it out. 🙂