Lilium michiganense (Michigan Lily)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Lilium
Family:Liliaceae (Lily)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist fields, bogs, along shores, edges of woods
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:3 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

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

[photo of flowers] 1 to 8 nodding flowers in a whorl at the top of the plant, each flower at the end of a long naked stalk. Flowers are 2½ to 3 inches across with 6 petal-like tepals that are pale to deep reddish orange fading to more yellowish at the base, with many purplish brown spots. Tepals strongly curve back towards the flower base. 6 long brown-tipped stamens and a long whitish style extend from the flower throat and flare out. The tips of the stamens (anthers) are up to ½ inch long.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are blade-like, up to 5 inches long and ¾ to 1 inch wide, tapering to a point at the tip, with obvious parallel veins. They whorl around the stem in groups of 5 to 9, but there are usually smaller leaves alternately attached at the top of the stem. The main stem is round and smooth.

Notes:

Michigan Lily is often mistaken for (or mistakenly called) Turk's-cap Lily (Lilium superbum) but there are apparently subtle differences between them. L. superbum is not native to Minnesota, but is found farther south and east. Michigan Lily flowers resemble those of Tiger Lily (L. lancifolium) but the leaves are distinctly different and Tiger Lily has distinctive bulbets in the leaf axils. While Michigan Lily plants are often found singly in the wild, it can produce dense stands under cultivation though many gardeners find it has difficulty persisting over time. For what reason is not clear, populations can collapse within a few seasons and may help explain the randomness of this species in the wild.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden in Lino Lakes, and elsewhere in Anoka County.

Comments

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

Posted by: Loren - Miltona
on: 2009-07-18 15:38:57

Seen in tall grass along side gravel road.

Posted by: Karen - Minnetonka
on: 2009-07-21 10:29:58

Seen in a wooded area. I've never seen this flower in the wild and thought someone purposely planted it there til I did this search.

Posted by: Linda
on: 2009-07-29 18:27:08

Along Cannon River Trail, near archeological site. 1st time I have seen this plant in wild. There were a seven or more plants spread over a small area along the river side of the trail -- in full bloom (Jul 29 09)

Posted by: Nancy - Rice, MN, Little Rock Lake
on: 2010-04-16 18:25:22

This is a recommended plant for lake shore lines. I have more to plant now. they come from a farm yard where my friend lives

Posted by: M. Bartz - Southern Carlton County
on: 2010-05-23 08:47:05

Growing up I always new this flower by the name Wild Tiger Lily. Still to this day I have trouble calling it anything else, even though most people call it Mighigan Lily or Turk's Cap Lily (even though Turk's cap is a different species). Everytime I see this plant in the summer my heart jumps. Still to this day it may have to be my favorite flower. I think it maybe because these flowers bloomed on or around my birthday, so every year my dad would go out wandering and pick me a big bouquet of these lilies for my birthday.

Posted by: D. Keller - Nerstrand Big Woods
on: 2010-07-06 09:51:22

We were trudging along the trails in Nerstrand Big Woods near Northfield, MN on a hot humid July 5th, swatting a zillion mosquitos off of our faces and necks. Then we spotted a single exotic looking orange lily, downward facing, with it's long stamens dangling like a chandelier. We captured a dozen photographs and were satisfied to cut the hike short. A beautiful flower!

Posted by: Cassandra - Farmington
on: 2010-07-23 08:19:16

I didn't know this was a wildflower. I've seen this in a backyard in Farmington -- it is part of their garden.

Posted by: Terri - Olmsted county
on: 2011-07-10 16:08:47

On the Douglas Bike Trail, between Rochester, and Pine Island, MN - my husband spotted 1 plant along the bike trail --- has photos! :)

Posted by: Phil - Mcloed County
on: 2011-07-13 17:20:14

Found 5-10 plants in Sunrise Park, Lester Prairie. I have been a 5 year regular to the park and have never seen them before. They are very cool.

Posted by: G Odness - LaPorte beside highway 32
on: 2011-07-19 17:39:31

There were 10-20 plants within about 1/2 mile, but that was all I could find.

Posted by: John - Bemidji
on: 2011-07-20 12:46:08

Maybe 100 of these in the ditch along a gravel road south of Bemidji.

Posted by: Carl - Eden Prairie
on: 2012-06-12 20:35:30

We have 4 now beginning to growth in our flower garden. About 3" high this Spring; gift from our son. Waiting for flowers!

Posted by: St. Louis River Trail - Zim, MN
on: 2012-07-10 13:42:42

Found a lone plant along the St. Louis River in Zim, MN

Posted by: John S - Crow Wing County
on: 2012-07-11 17:24:24

Drove along Beauty Lake Rd west of Gull Lake and spotted quite a number of Michigan Lily plants in full bloom. Got some great photos with woodsy background. Saw some more of these along a back road west of Jenkins, MN a week ago. Saw some several years ago near Mission Lake, but highway department mowed them all down this past year.

Posted by: Tammy - St. Louis Co, along Highway 53 going to Duluth
on: 2012-07-19 09:13:08

When I first saw this flower, I was in college and an instructor had taken a picture of it. He told me the name and of course I had forgotten what it was called. Now I have a name to go with the photograph that I took of it!

Posted by: Jane - Lake George
on: 2012-07-31 08:27:57

Found several of these this year in my wooded yard. Have never seen them before in the 4 years I have lived here. Beautiful!

Posted by: Harvey - Bemidji
on: 2013-07-13 16:16:39

Michigan lily seen blooming along Paul Bunyan Bike Trail between Bemidji and Guthrie on 7/13/2013

Posted by: Cecile - East Lake County
on: 2013-07-22 08:35:18

Saw a single plant along the East Split Rock River, and a clump along a gravel road that crosses the river.

Posted by: Keith - Rice County, Mille Lacs County
on: 2014-05-20 15:33:54

I've found these flowers growing abundantly in ditches near Faribault, MN and in Mille Lacs County. They were first described to me as Turk's Cap Lilies, but this webpage has now changed my understanding of the flower.

Posted by: Terry - Chisago County
on: 2014-07-24 21:15:03

These bloom every year at the edge of a wetland behind my house. About fifteen blossoms.

Posted by: Patricia - Carlton co mn
on: 2014-08-11 11:15:14

Michigan Lily along the edge of a pine tree woods in a field of long grass, seen 4 plants in 2013, this year there are 9 plants.

Posted by: Critter Mama - Champlin
on: 2015-04-15 12:26:01

I saw one of these beauties in the marsh behind my backyard in late summer 2013, it was just once and never came back... I was just wondering if you know where can I get seeds/bulbs/cuttings to try to cultivate it in my garden? I absolutely adore this flower :)

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-04-15 20:21:36

Critter Mama, see "where to buy native seeds and plants" that's on most pages of the website. If those native plant vendors don't carry it they may know who does.

Posted by: Shawna - South central indiana
on: 2015-06-29 16:33:06

I found one yesterday on the east side of my hill here in south central Indiana. Looked like a tiger lily of sorts. Glad to find out what exactly it is. I found 2 of them growing amoung the thick wild blackberry bushes.

Posted by: Clarissa - Dell Grove Twshp, Pine County
on: 2015-07-13 16:12:25

Growing along the edge of a pond.

Posted by: MIchelle - Mille Lacs Co approx 9 mi. NE of Princeton
on: 2015-08-07 01:34:13

These have returned to the wet ditches along the gravel road on which I grew up. I adored these as a child back in the early 80s, and sadly, they disappeared completely by 1990. This is the first year I saw a small grouping again and walked out just to verify that they are, in fact, the native species and not an escapee! Yippee!

Posted by: Donna - St Louis County
on: 2015-09-18 04:00:39

I saw these back in July along the bank of the Cloquet River then a few weeks later in the ditch along Hwy 53 just north of Cotton

Posted by: Kathy - Stearns County, Pine Point, Sartell
on: 2016-06-24 06:42:20

We had a few growing wild in our mixed woods along the Mississippi. We only saw them bloom two seasons, after that the deer ate them off. I transplanted some small plants to our yard two seasons ago and they have buds on them this year. I have s tall wire fence around them to protect them from the deer. Four of the plants have flower buds. Crossing my fingers that we will once again enjoy these gorgeous flowers!

Posted by: jess - pillager
on: 2016-07-17 08:31:11

A couple of these are growing in my yard at my wood line. They are most definately the Michigan lily and have been producing new plants very slowly each year. They are on their 3rd year of survival

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