Liliaceae / Lily
Ads on this page help pay for this site but if you see one that seems inappropriate here such as one that is counter to the pro environmental theme please let me know which Ad and I will block it.
Report a Bad Ad
This species has not required the creation of 'improved' cultivars to find a spot in flower gardens. It seems likely that more plants exist under cultivation than exist naturally in the wild.
Lore: We don't always know if a casual reference to "lily" is actually referring to a true lily since such taxonomic distinctions are relatively new and still unrecognized by all but those with some special interest in botany, still history is full of such references and images of lilies are frequently seen in art. Often used in floral arrangements, Rickett relates that lilies displayed in churches have their stamens removed based on the belief that once pollinated their aroma changes to a foul odor.
The true Lilies have sometimes been used as food (roots and buds). The Cherokee made flour from the tubers of Lilium canadense in times of famine and gave boiled tubers to children to "make child fleshy and fat".(Hamel/Chiltoskey) Other peoples around the northern hemisphere, where there are numerous species, have also used lilies as food though it was often considered to have some medicinal property as well. Please don't think of digging this rather rare species for food.
Similar Species: Many plants have flowers which resemble these. Many are not in the genus Lilium and
thus not true Lilies. Lilium has alternate or whorled leaves. The flowers of this species are drooping as are a few others.
Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii) has a drooping flower which is very similar with the distinction being that it does
not have the green wedge at the base of each tepal, forming a star pattern.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Monocots / One Seed Leaf