Deer in Spring Landscape

Wood Lily

photograph of wood lily

Wood Lily, Lilium philadelphicum
Photograph by R.H. Wiegand

The Wood Lily, Lilium philadelphicum, is a species formerly inhabiting the dry, relatively open forested hills of the Piedmont and mountains to the west. The wood Lily’s traditional range is from Delaware to North Carolina. Currently this showy flower is listed by State regulation as an Endangered Extirpated species. This means that the species is no longer believed to occur in the State. However, if a new population is found in Maryland the species will immediately be afforded the protection of an Endangered species.

Different shapes and positions of flower heads attract different pollinators. It is believed that the conspicuous, open, upright flower of the Wood Lily is ideally suited to pollination by butterflies.

In the past, the bulbs of this wildflower were gathered by Native Americans for food. This species may have declined because of the suppression of forest fires, which helped maintain fairly open under story.  A favorite browse item, Wood Lily is affected by deer, especially where an overpopulation occurs, as is the case in most of Maryland and surrounding states.

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