Yellow or Orange Flowers
Lily-like Leaves )
Lily Family (Liliaceae)
Wood Lily/Western Wood Lily
Habitat: Montane/Dry Areas
Height: Up to 50 cm
Description: The western wood lily has linear, lily-style leaves that clasp the stem in an alternate arrangement. The uppermost group of leaves form a whorl around the stem. Above this grows one to three large flowers. Each has six bright orange petals forming a large upright bell. Looking inside of the throat, the base of the petals lighten with brown spots. The long stamens, are tipped with brown anthers which may extend slightly beyond the top of the flower.
Flower: The flowers occur singly (occassionally 2 or 3) at the top of erect stems. Each of the orange flowers has 6 petals (tepals) That curve outward slightly to form a goblet shaped flower. The petals are lighter, with brown-purple spots near the base of the throat. There are 6 brown to purple anthers that emerge from the centre of the flower.
Leaf: The leaves are narrow and lanceolate, occuring in an alternate arrangement along the stem. The uppermost leaves form one or two whorls of (usually) 6 leaves. Each leaf has a smooth margin and is 5-10 cm long and 3-12 mm wide.
Fruit/Seed: The seeds are contained within an egg-shaped, erect capsule (2-5 cm).
Similar Species: This common lily is often misidentified as the tiger lily. The tiger lily has a nodding orange flower, while the wood lily has a bright upright flower.
The less common, but true tiger lily (L. columbianum) has insignificant leaves. They are small, linear, and may occur alternately, or in whorls. The stem may branch several times, with each stem terminating in a large, nodding, orange lily. The six orange petals are recurved. The petals are dotted with purple or black. The long anthers extend far beyond the recurved petals.
Range: Wood lily is widely ranging and can be enjoyed from southeastern British Columbia, across Alberta and east to Quebec. It extends south to New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio and Michigan.
Many people find the wood lily irresistable and many a field of lilies has ended up in a vase on a kitchen table. Unfortunately, lilies do not respond well to being disturbed and once picked, the plant will not recover. In many areas, wood lily populations have been decimated by over-picking.
The Blackfoot ate the bulbs either whole or as part of a soup. Farther east, the Iroquois used it as a love medicine. They would dry the plants in the sun. If the dried plants twisted together, It was seen as evidence that your wife had been unfaithful. On the other hand, Iroquois women would use a bulb decoction as a wash when their husbands had been unfaithful.
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Wood Lily/Western Wood Lily