Turk’s Cap Lily

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This gentle giant of Summer is our most spectacular and largest native lily. Up to 40 flowers have been counted on just one plant.

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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.

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This is the tallest of the native American lilies, typically growing 4-6 feet (and less frequently to 8 feet) tall.

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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.”

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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.

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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.”

Third Eye Herp

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