There are many names for this small lily. Most obviously, its speckled leaves reminded New Englanders of the speckled colors of their native brook trout.
“It blooms along the trout streams, and its leaf is as mottled as a trout’s back,” wrote naturalist John Burroughs in 1894.
On nature walks at Mount Holyoke College in 1848 Emily Dickinson mentioned finding Adder’s Tongue, another common name for the plant.
That name may derive from the way the dark stamens and green pistil project from the flower cup – like an active snake’s tongue.