Erythronium, Dog's tooth - Erythronium dens canis

Erythronium, Dog's tooth - Erythronium dens canis

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The dog tooth

Erythronium dens canis, or erythronium is a very elegant bulbous plant of the Liliaceae family; the dog's tooth belongs to a genus widespread mainly in Europe and Asia; few species are present in Italy, above all in the hilly woods of the central north, particularly in the beech-woods, where erythronium also develops in the wild.
The Erythronium dens canis is a small bulbous perennial, the bulb has a curious sharp shape, similar to a dog's tooth, hence the common name of the plant.
At the end of winter, from the bulb of Erythronium dens canis, one or two enlarged leaves appear, slightly fleshy, green in color, with no petiole, which show showy purplish red spots. The leaves are followed by a thin stem that bears large pink and white flowers, which bloom and bend the tepals towards the outside, giving life to a decidedly very beautiful and showy flower. The flowers of the erythronium resemble those produced by the lily.


These small bulbous plants are used to rather cool climates; if cultivated in the garden the specimens of this type should be placed in a place that is in the shade, in a soft and humus-rich soil, quite fresh.
To maintain the plants over time, it is advisable to place them at the feet of deciduous trees, in this way they will be able to enjoy the sun's rays in winter and a good shade during the summer.
Generally they do not fear the cold, also because in late spring they tend to lose their foliage and become dormant until the end of winter.


As for the correct amount of water to be supplied to this particular type of bulbous plant, it is good to know that the specimens belonging to this genus need frequent watering during the vegetative period that lasts until late spring, taking care to check that the soil always maintains a certain degree of humidity, without however allowing the formation of water stagnations that could lead to the onset of rot, which is very harmful for the development of these plants.
In winter, then, the watering must be suspended to prevent the bulbs from presenting problems or freezing, in the case of rather harsh temperatures.
During the spring it is advisable to add fertilizing water for flowering plants to the water every 15/20 days to provide these plants with all the necessary nutrition.

Diseases and pests

These bulbous plants are rather rustic, so much so that in some areas they also grow in the wild; but they can be attacked by oidium. A more common problem is due, instead, to the excessive quantity of water or to a high environmental humidity, which can quickly lead to the onset of rot, very dangerous for the health of the plants of this variety.

Erythronium, Dog tooth - Erythronium dens canis: Advice

To get good blooms, the planting of the bulbs of this plant should be done during the autumn season, proceeding with their arrangement in a soil that has good drainage qualities and is rich in organic substances. These plants do not like soils that are too compact and allow the formation of water stagnation.


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