Lilium michiganense Farw.

Michigan Lily


CC = 7
CW = -3
MOC = 30

© DETenaglia

Family - Liliaceae

Habit - Perennial forb from a stout, scaly, light yellow bulb.

Stems - Flowering (aerial) stems ascending to erect, to 2 m, green, glabrous, glaucous.

Lilium_michiganense_bulb.jpg Bulb.

© KBildner

Lilium_michiganense_bulb2.jpg Bulb and underground portion of stem.

© KBildner

Lilium_michiganense_stem.jpg Stem and node.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Typically whorled, sometimes alternate at the lowermost or uppermost nodes, to 12 cm long, 5 cm broad, lanceolate to elliptic, tapered at both ends, glabrous above. Undersurface and margins roughened with minute, toothlike processes along the margins and the veins.

Lilium_michiganense_leaves1.jpg Leaf whorl.

© SRTurner

Lilium_michiganense_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

© SRTurner

Lilium_michiganense_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Lilium_michiganense_leaf2a.jpg Leaf detail. Note minute teeth along margins and veins.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Terminal whorls of 2-5 flowers (more in cultivated plants), often reduced to a single flower. Flowers nodding, the long stalks bent abruptly near the tips.

Lilium_michiganense_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Flowers - Perianth (tepals) 6, mostly red with a yellow base and brown speckles, recurved, to 10 cm long, with a green area (the nectary) 5-12 mm long at the base. Stamens 6, exserted well beyond perianth, the anthers 5-15 mm long. Style 1. Stigma 3-lobed.

Lilium_michiganense_flower.jpg Flower.

© DETenaglia

Lilium_michiganense_flower2.jpg Flower.

© SRTurner

Lilium_michiganense_flower3.jpg Flower.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Barrel-shaped or ellipsoid capsules 3.0-4.5 cm long.

Flowering - June - July.

Habitat - Mesic bottomland to upland forests, streambanks, mesic upland to wet bottomland prairies, bluff ledges, roadsides, railroads. Frequently cultivated.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - L. superbum.

Other info. - This is an easily recognized lily which is often cultivated. Horticultural forms may vary in perianth color and number of flowers terminating the stem. This is the most common species of Lilium found in the state, occurring in a number of widely scattered counties. Elsewhere its range is mainly within the U.S. upper Midwest.

This species is probably more common than generally realized. Plants which over time become overtopped by canopy eventually receive insufficient light for flowering; however, they will often continue to grow vegetatively for decades. These nonflowering plants blend in with other vegetation and often go undetected.

The plant's underground bulb is covered with numerous thick, fleshy scales (see photo above). These are functional propagules and can be used to grow new plants.

L. michiganense is closely related to L. superbum, which it closely resembles. It is differentiated from that species by the tiny teeth along the leaf margins and veins, which are lacking in L. superbum, and by its smaller anthers. Some authors list this plant as a subspecies of L. canadense L.

Photographs taken at Pultite Spring, Shannon County, MO., 6-27-04 DETenaglia); also at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 6-22-2007 and 6-30-2017, and Glassberg Conservation Area, Jefferson County, MO, 4-30-2020 (SRTurner); also in St. Louis, St. Louis County, MO, 10-23-2022 (KBildner).