[Fawn Lilies: The Genus Erythronium in the Columbia River
Gorge of Oregon and Washington]
Glacier Lily, Pale Fawn-lily, Yellow Avalanche-lily, Yellow Fawnlily, Yellow Fawn-lily
Erythronium grandiflorum ssp. pallidum
Synonyms: Erythronium grandiflorum var. pallidum, Erythronium parviflorum
Glacier lilies still in bloom t left under conifers high on Hardy Ridge, Beacon Rock State Park............April 20, 2015. The photo at right shows pale fawn-lily blooming under Garry oaks at Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge.....March 17, 2021.
Glacier lily is a beautiful perennial wildflower
which arises from a deep seated elongated corm. The single stem may rise to
about 35 cm in height. The pair of leaves are basal, not mottled, and narrowly
to broadly oblong-elliptic in shape. They are 10 to 20 cm long, narrowing gradually
to a wide petiole.
The one to three flowers are showy, turned downwards
in bloom with six tepals reflexed backwards and upwards. The flowers are cream
to pale yellow or golden in color, often with a greenish tinge near the base
on the outer surface. The tepals are separate, and are lanceolate in shape,
being 25 to 45 mm long and 4 to 8 mm wide. The 6 stamens have flattened filaments
which become broader downward. The anthers range from whitish or yellowish to
deep purplish red. They measure from 5-10 mm long. The style is long and slender
and deeply 3-cleft. It typically extends past the tips of the anthers.
Glacier lily may be found in moist springtime meadows,
often interspersed among sagebrush or Ponderosa Pine or under Oregon white oak.
This plant typically withers and disappears by mid to late spring.
Glacier lily is common from the crest of the Cascade
Mts eastward to Montana and Colorado, northward into British Columbia. It is
also found in the Olympic Mts.
In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between
the elevations of 100'-4200' from Silver Star Mt. east to near The Dalles, OR.
I personally think this would make a beautiful
meadow plant for naturalized yards, especially if established in dense drifts.
It evidently does not do well in the moister climate west of the Cascades but
should grow well in open, grassy woodlands to the east of the Cascade crest. It generally should not be dug up from its habitats in the wild as it sends its bulbs very deeply into the soil. Most of us would end up digging up only the leaves and their stems which would then soon die.
A multi-flowered glacier lily as seen at Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge..........April 9, 2009. Glacier liliy bloom tends to peak by the third and fourth weeks of March in the Gorge, so seeing one at low elevation in bloom by the second week in April is a treat!
Additional photos of glacier lilies as seen in bloom under Oregon white oaks along the old four wheel drive road along the south side of Dillacort Creek, Klickitat River drainage.............April 3, 2011.
Glacier lilies in bloom along a user trail along the spine of Hardy Ridge north of the Hardy Ridge Trail, Beacon Rock State Park..........April 8, 2016.
Glacier lily blooming in oak woods along the Old Gorge Scenic Highway in the Rowena curves about one-half mile west of Rowena, Oregon..........March 3, 2015.
Glacier lilies stil in bloom under Oregon white oaks atop the east end of Sevenmile Hill, Columbia River Gorge...........April 12, 2015.
The photo at left shows a glacier lily in bud along the Memaloose Trail.........March 2, 2016. The photo at right shows glacier lilies in bloom along the Eagle Creek Trail near Upper Punchbowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.............April 13, 2012.
Several glacier lilies blooming on Memaloose State Park lands east of the rest areas off Interstate 84............March 30, 2013.
Examples of glacier lilies blooming under the oak forest in the Klickitat Wildlife Area about one-quarter mile west of the Glenwood-Goldendale Highway.........April 6, 2013.
Gacier lilies as seen along the Eagle Creek Trail upstream of Upper Punchbowl Falls, Columbia River Gorge.........April 11, 2013.
Glacier lilies blooming along the eastern portion of the loop of the Memaloose Trail in oak forest about one-quarter mile northwest of the junction of Dell Road and Highway 30 (north of the old landing strip).........March 16, 2016.
A glacier lily beginning to bloom at left in oak forest along the Memaloose Trail east of Marsh Cutoff Road..........March 23, 2014. The photo at right shows glacier lilies blooming at Catherine Creek........March 23, 2017.
Glacier lilies about to bloom at Catherine Creek......February 18, 2020.
A glacier lily seen along the Memaloose Trail east of Mosier, Oregon.........March 27, 2015.
A glacier lily still blooming under Oregon white oaks in Rowena Dell, Columbia River Gorge..........April 5, 2014.