Canada Lily

Lilium canadense

It’s showtime! Here’s an exotic-looking Virginia native that is a member of the lily family (Liliaceae).

Canada Lily: leaves in a whorl
Canada Lily: leaves in a whorl

Canada Lily grows in moist woods and along wood margins. Reaching 2-5 feet tall, the erect plant has an unbranched stem with whorls of 3-8 elongated leaves; the leaf edges are smooth (not toothed).

Canada Lily
Canada Lily: the nodding flowers occur at the top of the plant

The nodding flowers are borne at the top of the plant and are roughly 2 inches wide; the flowers can be yellow, orange, or red. Each flower has 6 petals (tepals) and 6 stamens with red anthers. Invert the flower to see a seductive yellow throat with dark spots.

Bloom time for Canada Lily is June and July. Some of these plants were photographed at Glen Alton. The others were found near my neighbor’s pond in Blacksburg (thanks Mary Houska!).

Identification Note: This striking flower has recurved petals like other wild lilies, but the petals (or tepals) do not curve all the way back to the base of the flower like they do in the Turk’s Cap lily.

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