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Cooper Marsh, Lancaster, Ontario, Canada

July 3, 2011. Almost a year to the day when the one below was photographed on July 4, 2010!

185 views as of 7/30/11

Canada Lily
 Lilium canadense

Lily family (Liliaceae)

This plant is on the endangered species list of COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

With thanks to


This perennial wildflower is 2-4’ tall and unbranched, except near the apex where the flowers occur. The central stem is light green, terete, glabrous, and often glaucous. At intervals along this stem, there are whorls of 3-8 leaves; 1 or 2 alternate leaves may occur along the upper portion of the stem. These leaves are up to 6" long and 1" across, narrowly ovate, smooth along the margins, and sessile. The upper surface of each leaf is medium to dark green and glabrous, while the lower surface is a lighter shade of green with finely short-pubescent hairs along the veins (a 10x hand lens may be necessary to see these minute hairs). The veins of the leaves are parallel. The upper stem terminates in 1-5 (rarely up to 20) yellow-orange to red-orange flowers on long stalks. Each of these stalks nods downward at its apex. Some stalks may have 1 or 2 leafy bracts that resemble the leaves, except they are smaller in size. Each trumpet-shaped flower is about 2½" long and across, consisting of 6 tepals, 6 stamens with red anthers, and a central pistil. The throat of the flower becomes yellow and it has purple dots. The tips of the tepals curve backward, but they don’t extend to the base of the flower. The anthers and style of each flower are exerted only slightly from the corolla (the 6 tepals). The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about 3 weeks. There is no noticeable floral scent. Each fertile flower is replaced by an oblongoid seed capsule that is about 2" long. Each seed capsule is divided into 3 cells; within each cell, there is a stack of large flattened seeds. The root system consists of a scaly corm with fibrous roots. This wildflower reproduces by seed or from offsets of the corms.

Faunal Associations

The floral nectar attracts large butterflies, particularly Speyeria cybele (Great Spangled Fritillary) and various Swallowtail butterflies. Halictid bees (e.g., Lasioglossum spp.) collect pollen from the flowers, but they are ineffective at cross-pollination because of their small size. The caterpillars of Papaipema nebris (Common Borer Moth), Papaipema cataphracta (Burdock Borer Moth), and Papaipema cerina (Golden Borer Moth) bore through the stems of native Lilium spp. (lilies). The last of these three species is oligophagous (specialist feeder). Other insects that feed on native lilies include Acrolepiopsis incertella (Carrion Flower Moth; caterpillars bore into corms or stems of lilies), Merodon equestris (Narcissus Bulb Fly; maggots feed on corms), and the introduced Lilioceris lilii (Lily Leaf Beetle; feeds on leaves). The Lily Leaf Beetle occurs in some northeastern states, but it has not been observed in Illinois thus far. Deer, rabbits, and other mammalian herbivores readily browse on the foliage of native Lilies, while voles and chipmunks eat the corms.

Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 170 to 500 at 230 mm
iso 100, spot metered, F5.6, 1/40 second

In love with Ma Nature! Always have been, always will be. Let’s keep her safe, eh?

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  • trueblvr
    trueblvrover 3 years ago

    Mike, these are gorgeous…..and so delicate. Beautiful

  • Thanks so very much, Di! What a wonderful compliment, greatly appreciated!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Robert Miesner
    Robert Miesnerover 3 years ago

    A beautiful capture of this rare flower Mike! The composition and lighting are just perfect. I love the info as well. A sure fave, excellent work!

  • Many thanks, Robert, and thanks, too, for the fave! Much appreciated! These are growing in one little corner of the Marsh, about 8 plants, all told.

    – Mike Oxley

  • Istvan froghunter
    Istvan froghunterover 3 years ago

    Beautiful capture Mike!

  • Greatly appreciated, my friend! Many thanks!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Poete100
    Poete100over 3 years ago

    This is gorgeous!!! Being originally from Canana…I like it ever more!!! Lorraine…fav!

  • LOL! Many thanks, eh? And thanks, too, for the “fave”, Lorraine. Much appreciated!

    – Mike Oxley

  • stickelsimages
    stickelsimagesover 3 years ago

    Lovely work young Mike…
    very delicate flowers mate
    really lovely
    Cheers Lee

  • Thanks so very much, Lee. There are only a few of these lilies at The Marsh and they are so nice to see!

    – Mike Oxley

  • lorilee
    lorileeover 3 years ago

    A lovely capture!!!

  • Thanks so very much for the lovely comment, Lorilee!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Leslie van de Ligt
    Leslie van de ...over 3 years ago

    Just beautiful Mike! Sad that it is an endangered species isn’t it. A great write to read that’s for sure. A Fave as well . :>)) Leslie

  • Many, many thanks, Leslie, and thanks for the lovely compliment of the “fave”, too! They seem to be holding their own down at The Marsh and, apart from the odd grazer, I don’t think any harm will come to them.

    – Mike Oxley

  • Brenda Burnett
    Brenda Burnettover 3 years ago

    Very beautiful. Lovely detail and color.

  • Many, many thanks for taking the time to stop by and add your lovely comments, Brenda. So greatly appreciated!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Heather Vallance
    Heather Vallanceover 3 years ago

    Absolutely brilliant, Mike!

  • Greatly appreciated, Heather. Many, many thanks!

    – Mike Oxley

  • Shulie1
    Shulie1over 3 years ago

    I don’t think I have seen these before, Mike – they are so delicate!

  • Thanks so very much, Shulie, Last year was the first time I’d come across these and I go through the little area where they’re growing a fair bit. Maybe it was at the wrong time of year….

    – Mike Oxley

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