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Lilium philadelphicum L.

Wood lily, prairie lily

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassLiliidaeIncludes lilies, orchids, and many others
OrderLilialesIncludes lilies, tulips, trilliums, greenbriars, and others
FamilyLiliaceaeLilly family
GenusLiliumFrom Greek lirion, “lily,”
Speciesphiladelphicum“From Philadelphia”

About plant names...

Wood lily is a North American native plant, once wide­spread, now declining due to habitat loss and increasing white-tailed deer, who savor it. They prefer moist, well-drained sandy or loamy soils, and full sun or partial shade.

Plants: Plants are 20-47" (50-120 cm) tall × 9-12" (22-30 cm) wide. They have waxy green stems. Bulbs are ⅝-1" (1.6-2.9 cm) × ¾-1¾" (2.2-4.7 cm).

Leaves: Elliptical, 1-4" (2.9-10 cm) long × ½-1" (1.3-2.5 cm) wide, with pointed tips. They are alternate, smooth-edged and hairless, arranged in a whorl of 3-11 leaves near the top.

Flowers: Stunningly beautiful flowers are bright orange, sometimes pink to red or yellow. Flower petals are 1¾-3" (4.5-7.7 cm) long. One to three, or rarely up to five flowers top each stem. Flowers are spotted with dark maroon-colored spots, and do not have an odor. They are trumpet-shaped, and upward-facing. Each flower has three petals and three nearly identical sepals, so it appears to have six petals. Flowers appear from late April to early June.

Fruits: Erect capsules are ¾-3" (2-8 cm) long and ⅜-⅝" (1-1.8 cm) wide.

Edibility: Not edible. Toxic to cats.

Online References:



Minnesota Wildflowers



Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 138

Lilium philadelphicum (wood lily, prairie lily)

8/1/2008 · Bar Harbor, Maine
≈ 10 × 7" (25 × 17 cm)

Lilium philadelphicum (wood lily, prairie lily)

6/30/2010 · Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk, Maine · By Constance B. Kent


Lilium philadelphicum description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 19 Aug 2023.

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Lilium philadelphicum (wood lily, prairie lily)

6/30/2010 · Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk, Maine · By Constance B. Kent


About this map...