Sunday, July 12, 2020

Canada Lilies

There are only three true lilies native here in the Northeast, and one of them is the Canada Lily, or Lilium canadense. (Our other native lilies are Turk's Cap Lily and Wood Lily.)

Canada Lily
Three years ago I bought three lily plants from Garden in the Woods, a native garden and nursery, and planted them in the gazebo garden.  They took a bit to get established, but now are flourishing.

Sometimes also called wild yellow-lily or meadow lily, Canada lilies are native to eastern North America and found in open woodlands, moist meadows, and savannas.  They prefer dappled or partial sunlight and medium to moist soil and are hardy from zone 3 to 9.

My lilies bloomed for about three weeks from the later part of June through early July, with gorgeous apricot and yellow flowers, freckled underneath.  Canada lilies may be different in coloration, though, ranging from yellow to red-orange.

These lilies attract Halictid bees (aka sweat bees) and large butterflies such as Swallowtails and Great Spangled Fritillaries.  The only thing I actually noticed enjoying my Canada lilies, however, was a hummingbird.  I got some great pictures of it... if only the memory card had been in my camera.

I keep all my lilies in my protected gazebo garden so that the deer don't eat them.  I have spotted a few of the invasive Lily Leaf Beetles in my garden, but on my other, non-native lilies.  It's the first time I've really noticed the beetle in my garden.  They have released several parasitic wasps throughout New England for a biological control, so I do hope that they won't become a problem.

Historically Canada lily was used medicinally for such things as stomach disorders, dysentery, rheumatism, irregular menstruation, and snake bites.  The buds and roots of these lilies were traditionally eaten by Native Americans, and the bulbs are said to have a bitter or peppery flavor.  Some sources label the lily roots as 'starvation food' eaten in times of famine, so I don't think I shall be trying them any time soon.

I would rather have the flowers in my garden anyway.

Happy gardening!

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