This gentle giant of Summer is our most spectacular and largest native lily. Up to 40 flowers have been counted on just one plant.
Turk’s Cap Lily can be found in eastern North America, where it occurs in wet meadows and moist woods from New Hampshire south to Georgia and Alabama – I saw these on the Ohio Erie Canal Towpath.
This is the tallest of the native American lilies, typically growing 4-6 feet (and less frequently to 8 feet) tall.
Downward-facing, nodding, orange flowers, up to 4 inches wide, with greenish throats are densely-spotted with maroon. Sharply-reflexed sepals and petals curve backward to touch at the stem, thus forming a “Turk’s cap.”
The bulb from Turk’s Cap Lily was used by Indians for soup making and seasoning stew and meat dishes, nearly driving the plant to extinction.
This was a nice plant to see in bloom the week of Fourth of July, as it’s a great example of nature’s “fireworks.”