Lilium lancifolium (Tiger Lily)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Lilium
Family:Liliaceae (Lily)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Asia
Habitat:part shade, sun; roadsides, yards, woodland edges
Bloom season:July - August
Plant height:3 to 6 feet
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] A raceme of a few to 40 nodding flowers on lateral stalks arising from the upper leaf axils and at the top of the stem. Flowers are about 4 inches across with 6 orange-red petal-like tepals strongly recurved backward, covered in many purplish brown spots and hairy near the throat. A long style and 6 long stamens flare out from the throat, the stamen tips (anthers) dark rusty brown and up to ¾ inch long.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are smooth with distinct parallel veins, webby edges on the upper leaves, narrowly lance-like, 3 to 7 inches long and about ½ inch wide, numerous and alternate throughout becoming more oval and clasping at the top of the stem. In the axils of upper leaves are 1 to 3 small purplish black bulbets, that can emit roots while still on the plant. The main stem is unbranched, purple to nearly black, covered in fine cob-webby white hairs.

Notes:

Tiger Lily flowers resemble those of the native Michigan Lily (Lilium michiganense) but the leaves are distinctly different, and Tiger Lily has the unique bulbets in the leaf axils. An early historical garden introduction, it is not as aggressive as other gardening icons that are making their way into natural habitats, such as Orange Day Lily (Hemerocallis fulva), though it is apparently more likely to naturalize in wetter than drier habitats, as it has in the eastern U.S. Persistent or not—time will tell—it is neither an aesthetic nor ecological replacement for native lilies.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Must have book for 2014: Pollinators of Native Plants

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers
  • Natural Shore Technologies - Using science to improve land and water
  • Itasca Ladyslipper Farm - Native orchids, container grown
  • Prairie Restorations - Bringing people together with the land
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Battle Creek Regional Park, St Paul. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in both garden and roadside settings in Hennepin and Anoka counties.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Starla - Crystal (Hennepin County)
on: 2011-03-29 15:19:32

Tiger Lillies are my favorite flower. We have about 3 plants in our backyard. Next-door neighbor has about 8, across the alley have about 20.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2011-03-30 08:02:36

Maybe they are pretty but there are native plants I find more beautiful, especially where it comes to contributing to the local eco-system. Tiger lily fails in that respect.

Posted by: Jon - Interstate Park - Taylors Falls
on: 2011-07-05 15:17:08

A number of them were growing well on the basalt cliff and pothole trails.

Posted by: Joy - waseca county
on: 2011-07-12 23:19:11

I have probably 100 of these...my sister has maybe more...friends have the same...

Posted by: Colene - Mazeppa
on: 2011-07-22 07:27:56

Where can I acquire some of these tiger lilies??? Thanks...

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2011-07-22 21:04:45

I wonder if people in general care at all about the disappearance of our natural landscape...

Posted by: grik - St. Paul
on: 2011-07-25 19:32:00

I think people care. I'm just not sure that it is such a sin to have a tiger lily in your garden. Certainly they don't seem as thuggish as many of the other terroristic plants you list as invasive.

Posted by: Diana - NE Mpls
on: 2011-08-06 21:38:25

The native Michigan Lily (or turk's cap lily) is a more tender and slender version of this. For gardeners to contribute to wildlife, now and in the future, we must be willing to forego many non-native beloved plants from our youth, before we knew better, and replace with species that are native to our area. If we all do this, we will help keep alive the native bees, native birds, native butterflies, and other native plants. What wonderful work! And how fun to discover all the native plants that we might not have even seen before. (Most plants travel by seed so if a person keeps a non-native species, they are making sure it grows in the wild areas too.)

Posted by: Pat - Pillager
on: 2011-11-22 14:52:41

I have these growing in my yard in a few places. Thanks for the info that they are non-natives. I am trying to get hold of the native types and will replace these interlopers.

Posted by: Nancy - Ottertail, Mn
on: 2012-05-14 16:40:46

These were growing naturally in my woods right at the North west side of Rush Lake. I planted some in my Iris garden believing they were 'the' native lily 'Turk's Cap'.

Posted by: Molly - Glyndon, MN, Clay County
on: 2012-06-03 23:05:29

Here in Northern MN right across from Fargo ND in Glyndon, MN in Clay County we have native Tiger lillies growing in our ditches in the countryside next to redtwig dogwoods and the cattails. They are just thick off highway 9 by stockwood sighting which is 2 miles east of Glyndon city limits. Hope this helps my clay county friends find some tiger lillies! They are gorgeous.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2012-06-04 06:36:27

Molly, I just want to note that the common name "tiger lily" might be applied to multiple species, as often happens with common names. What you see in your road ditch may actually be the native Lilium philadelphicum (better known in MN as wood lily) rather than non-native L. lancifolium (tiger lily).

Posted by: Nate - Hutchinson
on: 2013-08-07 00:17:01

There are quite a few of these growing by Otter Lake here in Hutchinson right along the road that runs behind my house.

Posted by: Linda - north and a little west of Detroit Lakes, MN
on: 2014-08-01 16:30:21

The Tiger lillies near Glyndon, MN would be the same ones we had near the farm I grew up on. They did not grow in the woods. They grew out in the open in the ditches along side the open farm land in the flat prairie like Red River valley.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.