Tiger Lily- garden jewel of the Northwest

By Sarah Uebel | January 28, 2016

Tiger lilies (Lilium columbianum) are one of our most striking and beautiful native wildflowers. Their petals are brilliant orange with dark brown spots that resemble freckles. They never fail to make me smile in June when they flower in my yard.

tiger lily in the garden © S. Uebel
tiger lily in the garden © S. Uebel

The photo above is from a few years ago and does not really do justice to the flower’s vibrant orange color, but does give one a feel for how they could fit into the yard. This particular bulb has grown considerably and last year it produced at least ten flowers and was two feet taller than in this photo. I merely planted and provided no extra care, I have been very happy with the results. If you choose to add some tiger lilies to your yard, plant several more than what you think you will want, as with other ornamental lilies slugs can take their toll. I know you will be happy with your new addition!

More reasons to love this lily

provided by Lindsay Willrick

This showy native found in meadows, wet prairies, oak woodlands, and openings in forests and clearings throughout the Pacific Northwest, with its range extending as far east as Montana. This orange and red speckled beauty adds height and a stunning splash of color to any garden bed in the summertime. This perennial reaches a height between 2 and 4 feet at maturity, towering over grasses, sedges, and other wildflowers, making it a wonderful backdrop to your garden design. Tiger lily attracts a myriad of pollinators from small beetles to hummingbirds and prefers moist, well- drained soil with high organic content. The bulb of this plant was considered to be a staple food source by many northwest native peoples, with a variety of culinary uses. The bulbs were steamed or cooked in underground earth ovens, often mixed with meat or salmon roe, and reportedly have a sweet peppered flavor.

tiger lily © L. Willrick
tiger lily © L. Willrick

About the Author

Sarah Uebel

Sarah Uebel is a botanist, mycologist and environmental educator. She has a Bachelor's in Botany from Oregon State University in Botany. She is passionate about restoration and conservation of native habitats in Oregon.

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