Lily-like Leaves )
Lily Family (Liliaceae)
Habitat: Montane/Shaded Areas
Height: Up to 1 m
Description: This angular stemmed lily can be very large, up to 1 m tall. The erect stem has clasping leaves that completely surround the stem. The leaves are smooth margined, with parallel veins. The stem often makes sharp, angular bends at the joints. It may branch several times. The flowers are hidden beneath the leaves. They branch from the leaf axis on short stems that either twist or bend sharply, hence the common name. The bell-like flowers occur either singly, or in groups of two, and can be found beneath most leaves. They have six parts, and are up to 1 cm long. The flowers later become bright oval red berries.
Flower: Twistedstalk flowers are easy to miss, hidden subtley beneath the much larger leaves. The small bell-shaped flowers have 6 petals (tepals) that sharply recurve. Each flower is 8-12 mm long and occurs at the end of a distinctive stalk. The stalk displays an abrupt bend, half-way along its 2 to 5 cm length.
Leaf: The clasping, alternate leaves often occur at joints where the stem makes a visible bend. Each leaf is ovate to lanceolate and 4-15 cm long and 1-6 cm wide.
Fruit/Seed: A green berry, gradually becoming bright red, replaces the flower at the end of its distinctive bent stalk. The oval to egg-shaped berry is 1-1.5 cm in diametre and while technically edible, tends to be poor tasting.
Similar Species: If you look for the distinctive bend in the flower or berry stalk, you will not mistake this plant for any other. False Solomon's seal (Maianthemum racemosum) has a similar leaf pattern, but the flowers occur in terminal clusters, rather than beneath the leaves. Bronze bells (Stenanthium occidentale) also have bell-shaped flowers with recurved petals, but its flowers also occur in clusters near the top of the plant.
Range: This wide ranging lily is found across Canada, from the Yukon and British Columbia to Newfoundland, and south all the way to New Mexico.
Notes: Numerous Native peoples ate the cooked leaves and fresh berries for food. The Thompson Indians ate the berries and also used decoctions and infusions made from the whole plant to treat stomach pains and loss of appetite.
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