Tiger Lily - Turk's Cap Lily - Lily Royal
Lilium michauxii - Poiret
Liliaceae (Lily) Family
Plant is a native herbaceous perennial; upright and smooth from a bulb. Its preferred habitat is rich woods, rocky slopes, roadsides, mixed pine/hardwood forests, and moist ravines. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region. The bulb is composed of overlapping scales. Each bulb produces a single upright unbranched stem to 3 feet in height. The stem is green in color.
The leaves occur in 2-4 whorls along the stem; oblanceolate to obovate in outline, smooth, fleshy, with entire, often undulate margins. The leaves are noticeably paler on the lower surface.
The flowers are terminal and solitary or rarely in 2-4 flowered umbels. Each flower has 6 strongly recurved orange-red tepals that are spotted with dark maroon. This is the only native lily in our area with fragrant flowers.
Fruit is a capsule.
This is the most common and widespread of our native Lily species. Plants often fail to flower in dense shade. Michaux's Lily is heavily browsed by White-tailed deer. Swallowtail butterflies are the main pollinator for this species.
The bulb was used by Indians for soup making and seasoning stew and meat dishes, nearly driving the plant to extinction. The plant has been making tremendous strides to stabilize in the last 30 - 40 years. A close relative, Tiger Lily, has been extremely helpful to distract the collector while the native plant makes a valiant recovery.