Hemerocallis fulva (L.) L.

Orange Day Lily


CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 41

© SRTurner

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb, with fleshy stolons and stout, thickened, fleshy rootstocks, the roots often with tuberlike thickenings at the tips.

Stems - Aerial stems erect, to 1.5 m, unbranched below the inflorescence, erect, glabrous.

Hemerocallis_fulva_base.jpg Base of plant.

© SRTurner

Hemerocallis_fulva_stem.jpg Stem and bract.

© DETenaglia

Leaves - Alternate, basal, 50-100 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, linear, entire, somewhat folded or channeled longitudinally, glabrous. Leaves of the upper stem reduced to small bracts.

Hemerocallis_fulva_leaves.jpg Leaves.

© SRTurner

Hemerocallis_fulva_leaf.jpg Leaf.

© SRTurner

Hemerocallis_fulva_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

© SRTurner

Hemerocallis_fulva_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Terminal, usually 2-branched panicles, sometimes reduced and appearing as racemes or umbels. Flower stalks 1-15 mm long.

Hemerocallis_fulva_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© DETenaglia

Flowers - Perianth 85-130 mm long, fused into a narrow tube in the lower third, the lobes oblong to elliptic, funnelform, the tips usually arched outward and spreading, orange to brick red, with a lighter midrib on the petal lobes. Petals 3. Sepals 3, slightly smaller than petals. Stamens 6, fused to the top of the perianth tube, the filaments arched and all positioned on one side of the flower. Style 1, parallel to the filaments of the stamens, the stigma capitate. Ovary superior, with 3 locules, each with numerous ovules.

Hemerocallis_fulva_flower.jpg Flower.

© SRTurner

Hemerocallis_fulva_stamens.jpg Stamens and style.

© SRTurner

Hemerocallis_fulva_perianth.jpg Perianth.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Capsules, not maturing in Missouri plants.

Flowering - May - August.

Habitat - Disturbed streambanks, roadsides, railroads, fields, pastures, old homesites. Extensively cultivated and frequently escaped.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Lookalikes - Broadly, Iris fulva.

Other info. - Large displays of this showy plant are commonly seen along rural roadsides. These usually represent deliberate cultivation, since the plants are normally sterile and do not spread far. Under favorable conditions, vegetative spread by means of stolons can result in large clonal colonies. The plant is easily recognized by its large, apparently 6-parted orange flowers. There is passing resemblance to Iris fulva, but the flower morphology is actually quite different.

This plant is not a true lily, having fibrous roots instead of bulbs, and lacking the toxictiy of many lilies. The flowers are edible and can be cooked in the manner of squash blossoms, and can also be used to flavor soup. The roots and young stems are also edible raw or cooked. However, the plants are toxic to cats, and ingestion can be fatal to them if not treated promptly.

Innumerable cultivars of this species have been developed in the horticultural trade. The genus name Hemerocallis is derived from Greek words meaning "day" and "beautiful." The epithet fulva means "tawny" in Latin. Most botanists have dismembered the formerly large Liliaceae into numerous smaller families, placing this particular species in the family Asphodelaceae.

Photographs taken in the Honey Creek Conservation Area, MO., 6-14-03 (DETenaglia); also Riverfront Park, Washington, Franklin County, MO, 6-7-2018, along the Katy Trail near Dutzow, Warren County, MO, 6-30-2019, and near Goodrich, Genesee County, MI, 7-03-2022 (SRTurner).