En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - January 10, 2012

From: Trussville, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Plant Identification, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Questions about lilies from Trussville AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford


How can I tell what kind of lily I have? Or better yet,what is the difference between Asiatic lily and a daylily? I also noticed someone asked about Cahaba lily. Just want to let you know I grow Cahaba Or Spider lily in our shade garden. They come back every year with no prompting from me. But I have found the place they do best is in my fish pond. And, yes, they come back every year. That lady was asking about the seed pods, I have tried getting plants from them but it has never produced,we just throw ours away. Thank You.


We did find the Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer which asked about the Cahaba Lily, which will bring you up to speed on that. Since we are not a forum, we can't guarantee original visitor will ever see your comment, but will leave it in so she will get the information if she searches Mr. Smarty Plants.

Now, on to your question about the difference between Asiatic lily and daylillies. This article from the American Hemerocallis Society has a database on which you could search for information. The daylilies are all now part of the genus Hemerocallis, none of which are native to North America, but rather to Eurasia, including China, Korea, and Japan.

There are members of the Liliaceae family which are native to North America, but the name "Asiatic" is a clue that native lilies are not what you are talking about. Try this website from the North American Lily Society to see if you can get any help there.

Native North American lilies belong to the genus Hymenocallis, in the family Liliaceae. Searching on Hymenocallis we found 6 members of the species, which includes Hymenocallis liriosme (Spider lily). Searching on Lialiaceae there were 268 members of that family listed. So, when you ask us how you can tell what kind of lily you have, frankly, we don't know. We suggest, again, that you look at the two societies listed above and see if they can help you. 

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center deals only with plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which they are being grown.


From the Image Gallery

Spring spider lily
Hymenocallis liriosme

More Non-Natives Questions

Propagation of non-native Selenicereus Antonyanus from Warwick RI
March 24, 2012 - I just purchased a Selenicereus Anthonyanus, Rick Rack Cactus unrooted. I have searched on the web of the proper way to root the plant and have had no luck except it says easy rooting but not how to r...
view the full question and answer

Wound from non-native date palm thorn Naples FL
November 12, 2012 - Was trimming my pygmy date palm when a frond fell and a thorn pierced my rubber gloves and stuck me in the web of skin between my thumb and forefinger. Did not see a broken thorn but area where struc...
view the full question and answer

Do Banana Plants Grow in Galveston, Texas?
March 30, 2011 - Do banana plants grow on Galveston island?
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native Chinese fringe flower from Austin
June 24, 2013 - When is the best time of year to prune Plum Delight? And how severely can it be cut back?
view the full question and answer

Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center