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Erythronium montanum S. Watson

Avalanche lily, white avalanche lily

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilyLiliaceaeLilly family
GenusErythroniumGreek for “red,” for a red-flowered European species
Speciesmontanum“From the mountains”

About plant names...

Avalanche lilies are so-called because they bloom almost immediately after the snow melts in the alpine settings where they are found. They flower somewhere between June and August, depending on altitude. These gorgeous flowers are found, often in dense masses, in Mt. Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Vancouver Island, and North Cascades National Park.

Identification: Plants are 6-8" (15-20 cm) high, with two leaves emerging from the ground on either side of a central stem. Leaves are 4-8" (10-20 cm) long, shiny, with parallel veins. One to three flowers atop each stem are composed of six attractive white sharp-tipped petals, with bright yellow or orange yellow centers. The white petals often curve backward. Flowers are up to 2½" (6.3 cm) in diameter.

Online References:

The Oregon Flora Image Project


The Pacific Bulb Society

Turner Photographics' Wildflowers site

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center




Erythronium montanum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Erythronium montanum (avalanche lily, white avalanche lily)

6/15/1992 · Olympic National Park, Wash­ington · By Constance B. Kent


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