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Lilium columbianum

Columbia lily, Columbia tiger lily, Columbian lily, Oregon lily, tiger lily

pine lily


variable, subrhizomatous to ± ovoid, 3.1–8.1 × 3.6–10.6 cm, 0.3–1.4 times taller than long;

scales 2–3(–5)-segmented, some unsegmented, longest 3.1–7.3 cm;

stem roots absent.

ovoid, 1.6–2.5 × 1.3–2.4 cm, 0.8–1.6 times taller than long, 2 years’ growth evident, newer bearing prominent basal leaves, older with abscission scars;

scales few, loose, unsegmented or 2-segmented, longest 1–1.8 cm;

stem roots usually present, often numerous.


to 1.7 m, glaucous or not.

to 0.9 m.


rounded in cross section.

rounded in cross section.


in 1–9 whorls or partial whorls, 3–25 leaves per whorl, usually ascending, 1.7–15.7 × 0.4–4.7 cm, 2.4–7.4 times longer than wide;

blade weakly oblanceolate to obovate or ± elliptic, margins usually somewhat undulate, apex acute;

veins and margins ± smooth abaxially.

scattered, ascending, distal appressed, 1.8–8.2 × 0.2–1.2 cm, 3.1–10.5 times longer than wide;

blade narrowly elliptic, sometimes linear or slightly oblanceolate, margins not undulate, apex acute, acuminate especially in distal leaves;

veins and margins ± smooth abaxially.


racemose, 1–25(–45)-flowered.

occasionally umbellate, 1(–3)-flowered.


pendent to nodding, not fragrant;

perianth Turk’s-cap-shaped;

sepals and petals reflexed 2/5–1/2 along length from base, yellow or orange to occasionally red, with copious maroon spots, often darker and especially reddish abaxially, not distinctly clawed;

sepals not ridged abaxially, appearing wide for their length, 3.4–7.1 × 0.8–1.9 cm;

petals 3.5–6.9 × 0.8–1.9 cm;

stamens barely to moderately exserted;

filaments moderately spreading, diverging 10°–20° from axis;

anthers pale yellow to yellow, 0.5–1.3 cm;

pollen orange or yellow;

pistil 2.4–3.7 cm;

ovary 1.1–2.2 cm;

style green;

pedicel 2.8–20.2 cm.

erect, not fragrant;

perianth widely campanulate;

sepals and petals recurved 2/5–1/2 along length from base, crimson or sometimes pink, distinctly clawed, apex very narrowly acute, nectar guides above claws yellow to pale yellow and spotted maroon or magenta, ± equal;

sepals not ridged abaxially, 8.2–12 × 1.2–1.9 cm;

petals at proximal widest point much wider than sepals, 7.6–11.1 × 1.8–3.4 cm;

stamens moderately exserted;

filaments ± parallel to style, barely spreading, diverging 0°–12° from axis, often purple at base;

anthers variously colored tan-orange, brown, peachy magenta, or pale greenish, 0.4–1.6 cm;

pollen burnt orange or dark tan;

pistil 7.6–10.5 cm;

ovary 1.4–3.5 cm;

style pale green, sometimes darker distally;

pedicel 1.8–9.5 cm.


2.2–5.4 × 1.1–2 cm, 1.7–3.3 times longer than wide.

often ridged along valve margins, 2.2–5.3 × 0.8–1.6 cm, 1.7–3.8 times longer than wide.



not counted.


= 24.

= 24.

Lilium columbianum

Lilium catesbaei

Phenology Flowering summer (early May–early Aug). Flowering late summer–fall (late Jun–Oct) in most of range, sporadically spring and fall in peninsular Florida.
Habitat Coastal scrub and prairies, meadows, conifer or mixed forests, clearings, roadsides Wet pine flatwoods and savannas, especially in pitcher plant (Sarracenia) bogs with Sphagnum
Elevation 0–1800 m (0–5900 ft) 0–200 m (0–700 ft)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

The author citations often seen for this species derive from Baker (1874), who published the name as Lilium columbianum “Hanson in hort., Leichtlin”; this authority is given by various later writers as Hanson, or Baker, or Hanson ex Baker. However, Ducharte’s (1871) recapitulation of a letter from M. Leichtlin is apparently the first confirmed and valid publication of L. columbianum, and hence that citation is used here.

This widespread lily is rather variable. In California plants the stamens are considerably less exserted than those of plants found farther north. Lilium columbianum may intergrade with L. kelloggii along Highway 199 at the border between California and Oregon; these plants are slightly fragrant, the stamens moderately exserted, and the bulb scales unsegmented. Lilium columbianum hybridizes with L. pardalinum subspp. wigginsii and vollmeri, and extensively with L. occidentale in Oregon.

Lilium columbianum is pollinated primarily by rufous hummingbirds [Selasphorus rufus (J. F. Gmelin), family Trochilidae] and to a lesser extent by large butterflies, including the pale swallowtail (Papilio eurymedon Lucas, family Papilionidae).

Native Americans used Lilium columbianum bulbs as a food or peppery condiment, sometimes mixed with meat or salmon roe. For many, it was a staple food (J. Pojar and A. MacKinnon 1994).

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

The pine lily’s flower is the largest of any North American lily and one of the largest among our native monocots. In small plants it dwarfs and sometimes topples the slender stem. Leaves are small and relatively few and the bulb is petite, and thus resource limitation in smaller plants undoubtedly contributes to the wide range of fruit sizes within populations. In other North American members of the genus, small plants produce one or a few capsules, but typically these approach normal size.

Lilium catesbaei subsp. asprellum Wherry and L. catesbaei var. longii Fernald have been proposed to account for individuals with leaves concentrated toward the middle of the stem or somewhat wide and lacking basal leaves, respectively. These variants are not emphasized here since both are based primarily on vegetative features that vary greatly in most lilies. Isotypes of var. longii are unremarkable, though with somewhat wide leaves, and the broadly overlapping distribution of this variety with nominate populations (A. E. Radford et al. 1968) strongly suggests that such differences are primarily environmentally induced. Variety longii was described from Virginia, and Fernald’s observation that these northern plants lack basal leaves—which I have not investigated in the field—is unsurprising in those colder climates, and best considered in terms of the normal variation within a fairly wide-ranging species.

Although it is not yet rare, widespread alteration of native longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Miller) and slash pine (P. elliottii Engelmann) savanna, especially conversion to even-age pine plantations, is making steady inroads on populations of this most beautiful lily. It is adapted to frequent fires, and their suppression may contribute to this decline.

Lilium catesbaei is pollinated primarily by the palamedes swallowtail [Papilio palamedes (Drury), family Papilionidae], the only swallowtail that is widely endemic to this lily’s coastal plain habitat. Spicebush swallowtails (P. troilus Linnaeus) visit the pine lily less frequently, and their smaller size suggests that they are less effective pollinators than the larger palamedes.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Source FNA vol. 26, p. 185. FNA vol. 26, p. 179.
Parent taxa Liliaceae > Lilium Liliaceae > Lilium
Sibling taxa
L. bolanderi, L. canadense, L. catesbaei, L. grayi, L. humboldtii, L. iridollae, L. kelleyanum, L. kelloggii, L. lancifolium, L. maritimum, L. michauxii, L. michiganense, L. occidentale, L. pardalinum, L. parryi, L. parvum, L. philadelphicum, L. pyrophilum, L. rubescens, L. superbum, L. washingtonianum
L. bolanderi, L. canadense, L. columbianum, L. grayi, L. humboldtii, L. iridollae, L. kelleyanum, L. kelloggii, L. lancifolium, L. maritimum, L. michauxii, L. michiganense, L. occidentale, L. pardalinum, L. parryi, L. parvum, L. philadelphicum, L. pyrophilum, L. rubescens, L. superbum, L. washingtonianum
Synonyms L. canadense var. parviflorum, L. lucidum, L. parviflorum L. catesbaei subsp. asprellum, L. catesbaei var. longii
Name authority Leichtlin ex Duchartre: J. Soc. Centr. Hort. France, sér. 2, 5: 98. (1871) Walter: Fl. Carol., 123. (1788)
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