<%@ Language=JavaScript %> Wildflowers of the Northwest -- Avalanche Lily
... intangible northwest ...
... intangible northwest ...
Return to Wildflowers Main Page
Wildflower Resources
Best Of Wildflower Photos
Browse by Name
Browse by Color
Browse by Category
Hikes of the Northwest
Wildflowers of the Northwest
intangible photography gallery
Screen Savers


Latin Name:

Erythronium montanum

Common Name(s):

Avalanche Lily

Family Name:



6-16 inches

Flower Size:

1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide

Flower Shape:

Bell Shaped, 3-6 Petaled


White ()


Nodding lilies with 6 curved, upsweeping tepals. Each flower is usually on top of a leafless, unbranched stem. The leaves are typically leathery, arising from the base of the stalk. Unlike its close cousin, the Glacier Lily, the Avalanche Lily has white flowers with yellow centers. Also, the Avalanche Lily has non-mottled leaves, unlike another close cousin, the White Fawn Lily.


This flower is closely related to both the Glacier Lily and the White Fawn Lily, and its name is oftentimes used interchangeably with both. I like to make a distinction between the two, as the Avalanche Lily's beauty is an extra step above either of the other two. The Avalanche Lily is a distinct Northwest Cascades / Olympics flower. Its corms were a frequent source of food for the indigenous Northwest tribes.


Alpine and Sub Alpine, moist open areas (e.g. alpine meadows). Often found near melting snow

Blooming Season:

June-August (Elevation dependent)

Related Flowers:

Glacier Lily, White Fawn Lily

Similar Flowers:

Glacier Lily, White Fawn Lily, Tiger Lily, Queen's Cup

When the snow melts high in the Cascades, the Avalanche Lilies come out. They will still your breathe away when you come upon an alpine meadow blanketed with them. On Mt. Hood, there are several hikes that have competing Avalanche Lilies, Paintbrush, and Lupine, yielding a patriotic explosion to the eyes.  

Lily Heaven
Peering Out

Many of the pictures shown here were taken on Mt. St. Helens' Sheep Canyon hike.


The avalanche lily, along with its sister Glacier Lily, were an important food source for the native Pacific Northwest Indians. A single family might harvest up to 200 pounds of the plants' bulbs each year. They would eat them cooked, or would dry for later use in the winter. 

Lily Quartet

(c) Geoffrey Peters, intangibility.com, 2002. For more information regarding this web page, please contact
Other web sites include: intangibility.com, ...intangible northwest..., Travel Logs, and intangible photography gallery