E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Erythronium montanum S. Watson
white glacier lily (white avalanche lily; white avalanche-lily)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Hans Roemer  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #10267)

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Distribution of Erythronium montanum
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a slender, 3- to 4-cm long bulb attached to a chain of bead-like rhizome segments; flowering stems 15-35 cm tall, smooth.
Basal leaves 2, bright yellow-green, not mottled, broadly egg-shaped to lance-oblong, 10-20 cm long, smooth, abruptly narrowed to almost wingless stalks 2-7 cm long, the margins entire; stem leaves lacking.
Inflorescence of 1 to 3 (4) flowers atop a leafless, unbranched, smooth stem; flowers white with some yellow at the base on the inner surface, nodding, of 6 similar, distinct tepals, the tepals broadly lanceolate, 2.5-5 cm long, 7-15 mm wide, somewhat curved back; stamens 6, anthers yellow; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Capsules, cylindric-egg-shaped, erect, 2-3 cm long; seeds several to many, brown, egg-shaped, angular.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist meadows and open forests in the montane and subalpine zones; rare on Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland (Mt. Waddington area); S to N OR.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Erythronium montanum

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 1067 1181 1323
Slope Gradient (%) 13 24 58
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 53 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 4 6
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CWH(1), IDF(1), MH(3)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is alpine tundra & boreal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References