Pink Fawn Lilies Down by the Tsolum River

Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum)
A cluster of Pink Fawn Lilies (Erythronium revolutum) showing a variety of different shades of pink.

This time of year is excellent for spring lilies and there is a short trail near the Courtenay Exhibition Grounds that loops through prime lily habitat. The river edge near the Tsolum River floods regularly depositing fine river sediment and sand throughout the forest and providing ideal growing conditions for Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum).

The spring bloom is definitely underway here in the Comox Valley. I had some time this morning and took the kids out to look for lilies and was amazed at the troops of E. revolutum near the Tsolum. Many of the flowers were in less than perfect condition due to the wild wind and rain storm yesterday and I had to search for suitable flowers to photograph. Having two children under 3 in tow added to the challenge but once they fell asleep in the stroller I had a little more time to work with.

Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum)
A typical group of "pink" Pink Fawn Lilies (Erythronium revolutum).

Given the variety of colours of these lilies, ranging from white to dark rose-pink I wondered if there were a few White Fawn Lilies (E. oregonum) mixed in with the Pink Fawn Lilies. However, I’m beginning to think that the white ones I found today at the Tsolum and earlier at Black Creek may just be a colour variant of E. revolutum since E. oregonum prefers much different habitat. On a subsequent visit to “Lily Lane” in Miracle Beach Provincial Park the buds that initially looked white had produced rosy-pink lilies and I found no white ones there.

Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum)
A white variant of Pink Fawn Lily (Erythronium revolutum)?

Pojar and MacKinnon’s Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, BC and Alaska states that White Fawn Lilies tend to be found in “well-drained, open, often grassy areas, open to fairly dense, rocky woodlands” which describes the habitat of Mount Douglas in Saanich, BC where I found them in late March. Pink Fawn Lilies grow in “moist woodlands, riverside areas, meadows and other open areas” which perfectly describes the habitat on the edge of the Tsolum River and Black Creek where I also found lilies growing.

The display along the Tsolum is spectacular and can only get better. Most of the flowers weren’t in full bloom with upturned tepals but that may be a result of yesterday’s tempest or the maturity of the flowers. If you happen to be in the Comox Valley over the next couple of weeks make an effort to see these flowers!