Herb: Dog's-Tooth Violet

Latin name: Erythronium dens-canis

Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Edible parts of Dog's-Tooth Violet:

Bulb - raw or cooked and used as a vegetable. It can be dried to make a flour and is also the source of a starch used in making "vermicelli" and cakes. Leaves - cooked. Eating the leaves will greatly reduce the vigour of the bulb, so can only be recommended in times of emergency.

Description of the plant:


15 cm
(6 inches)

to June

Habitat of the herb:

Woods, scrub and mountain grassland, to 1700 metres.

Propagation of Dog's-Tooth Violet:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. Water lightly in summer, it should germinate in autumn or winter. Stored seed requires a period of cold stratification. Sow as early in spring as possible in a cold frame. Sow the seed thinly so that it will not be necessary to prick them out for their first year of growth. Give an occasional liquid feed to the seedlings to make sure that they do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants are dormant, pot up the small bulbs 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. Division of the bulbs in the summer as the leaves die down. Larger bulbs can be replanted immediately into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up 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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woods, scrub and mountain grassland, to 1700 metres.

Medicinal use of Dog's-Tooth Violet:

None known

Known hazards of Erythronium dens-canis:

Skin contact with the bulbs has been known to cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.