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Lilium superbum (Turk's-cap lily)
Brundage, Stephanie

Lilium superbum

Lilium superbum L.

Turk's-cap Lily

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Lilium canadense ssp. superbum, Lilium canadense ssp. superbum, Lilium gazarubrum, Lilium mary-henryae

USDA Symbol: lisu

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The tall, flowering stem bears several somewhat drooping, orange flowers, spotted reddish-brown, with strongly recurved petals and petal-like sepals; a green streak at the base of each flower segment forms a green "star."

The largest and most spectacular of the native Lilies; up to 40 flowers have been recorded on a single plant. The recurved sepals and petals, which presumably resemble a type of cap worn by early Turks, and the showy extruded stamens, are distinctive features. Indians used the bulbs for soup. A somewhat smaller southern species, Carolina Lily (L. michauxii), also has its floral parts bent strongly backwards but lacks the green central star. Its whorled leaves are thick, whitish, and broadest toward the tip.


From the Image Gallery

48 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , MN , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , TN , VA , WV
Native Distribution: Southern New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York; south to Georgia and Alabama.
Native Habitat: Wet meadows, swamps, and woods.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Drought Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Loam, Sand. Good drainage essential.
Conditions Comments: Like moist but well drained soils

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

USDA: Find Lilium superbum in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Lilium superbum in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Lilium superbum


Record Modified: 2019-03-06
Research By: TWC Staff

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