Dogtooth violet, or Erythronium dens-canis in Latin, is not the name of any fierce beast. It is instead the name of a graceful flower, whose beauty we can see with our own eyes only rarely. This is yet another plant which sadly finds itself on the list of critically endangered species. The Czech Mint has therefore devoted a special issue to this beautiful plant from the popular Endangered Species collector’s series.
The dogtooth violet is a bit of a mystery to botanists. Throughout our entire country, it has chosen to grow in a single location, Medník Hill. It is found here in plentiful numbers among beech trees at an altitude of roughly 300 m above sea level. At the same time, this is the northernmost place in Europe where you can find this plant. It is still not clear whether Medník Hill is merely an island originally part of its native range, or whether this species was planted in the area by people, probably monks from the Strahov Monastery. The native range of dogtooth violet runs through Southern Europe, Spain, Southern France, Italy, Switzerland, Southeast Hungary, and Transylvania, continuing across the Balkans and Asia Minor to the Caucasus, the Altai Mountains and Japan.
The plant gained its name from its pale bulbs , which are strikingly reminiscent of a dog’s canine teeth. Early in the spring - in March or April - the bulbs send up two violet mottled leaves and a 10-20 cm tall stem. At the end grows a single distinctive purple-pink flower. The petals are up to 5 cm long, often curling back on themselves. At the base they are somewhat darker, sometimes even mottled. The fruit is a capsule.
This silver Smart coin with a nominal value of 1 NZD dedicated to the dogtooth violet is another example of the artistry of Czech medal makers. Both sides designed by MgA. Martin Dašek tastefully portray a natural theme. The reverse of the coin bears a minimalist relief of the plant, enhanced by original coloring. In addition to the issuer’s attributes, the obverse features a beautiful composition of four flowers. This small work of art with the exceptional luster of proof quality will immediately catch the eyes not only of nature lovers but especially coin collectors, who will be glad to add this attractive and modern minting to their collection.