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Lilium pardalinum

California tiger lily, leopard lily, panther lily

Canada lily, lis du Canada


rhizomatous, usually branching, continuously scaly, 1.4–5.1 × 3.9–19 cm, 0.2–0.6 times taller than long;

scales sometimes unsegmented but always some 2–4-segmented on each bulb, longest 1–3.3 cm;

stem roots absent.

usually yellowish, rhizomatous, unbranched, 1.8–4.5 × 4.2–11.7 cm, 0.3–0.8 times taller than long, 2(–3) years’ growth evident as annual bulbs, scaleless sections between these 0.7–5.3 cm;

scales 1–2-segmented, longest 0.9–2.8 cm;

stem roots present, often very many.


to 2.8 m, strongly clonal and thus forming dense colonies, to weakly clonal and forming small colonies or clumps.

to 1.8 m. Buds rounded in cross section.


rounded in cross section.


usually ± evenly distributed along stem, rarely concentrated proximally, scattered or in 1–6 whorls or partial whorls, 3–19 leaves per whorl, horizontal and drooping at tips to ascending, 4.9–26.5 × 0.3–5.6 cm, 3–34 times longer than wide;

blade usually ± elliptic, wide or narrow, margins usually not undulate, apex acute, often narrowly so;

veins and margins ± smooth abaxially.

in 6–10 whorls or partial whorls, 3–12 leaves per whorl, ± horizontal, occasionally slightly ascending, drooping at tips, 4–17.3 × 1–3.6 cm, 2.5–10 times longer than wide;

blade narrowly elliptic, occasionally elliptic or slightly lanceolate, margins not undulate, apex acute, often acuminate in distal leaves;

principal veins impressed adaxially, veins and margins very noticeably roughened abaxially with small ± deltoid epidermal spicules.


racemose, 1–28(–35)-flowered.

racemose, 1–17-flowered.


pendent, usually not fragrant;

perianth Turk’s-cap-shaped;

sepals and petals reflexed 1/4–1/3 along length from base, yellow, yellow-orange, or orange proximally, darker orange to red-orange to red on distal 1/5–3/5 (entirely orange or yellow-orange in subsp. wigginsii), with maroon spots concentrated proximally and always surrounded by yellow or orange if extending into distal reddish zone, conspicuously green abaxially on proximal ± 1/5, not distinctly clawed;

sepals not ridged abaxially, 3.5–10.4 × 0.9–2.2 cm;

petals 3.4–10.2 × 0.9–2.5 cm;

stamens moderately to strongly exserted;

filaments moderately to widely spreading, diverging 7°–22° from axis;

anthers ± magenta or sometimes orange, orange-pink, or pale yellow, 0.5–2.2 cm;

pollen red-brown, red-orange, brown-orange, rust, orange, or yellow;

pistil 3.1–7.5 cm;

ovary 1–2.2 cm;

style green, often pale, rarely sordid;

pedicel 6–32 cm.

pendent, not fragrant;

perianth ± campanulate;

sepals and petals somewhat recurved 1/2–3/4 along length from base, adaxial surface dirty yellow proximally and giving way to red dusting on tips, red or pale red abaxially, or orange adaxially and yellow-orange abaxially, or both surfaces solid yellow, spotted maroon, not distinctly clawed;

sepals not ridged abaxially, 5.4–8.5 × 1.2–1.7 cm;

petals 5.3–8 × 1.2–2 cm;

stamens barely exserted;

filaments ± parallel to style, barely spreading, diverging only 4°–6° from axis, ± same color as sepals and petals;

anthers dull magenta or darker, 0.6–1.3 cm;

pollen rust, sometimes light brown, rust-, tan-, or orange-brown;

pistil 4.2–6.4 cm;

ovary 1.5–2.8 cm;

style ± same color as sepals and petals;

pedicel 5–23.5 cm.


2.2–5.7 × 1.2–2.1 cm, 1.5–3.7 times longer than wide.

3–5.2 × 1.5–2.3 cm, 1.5–2.5 times longer than wide.



not counted.


= 24.

Lilium pardalinum

Lilium canadense

Phenology Flowering summer (Jun–early Aug).
Habitat Wet meadows, moist rich woods especially edges, streamsides and river alluvia, bogs, marshes, swamps, along wet roadsides and railroads
Elevation 0–1000(–1400) m (0–3300(–4600) ft)
from FNA
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[BONAP county map]
from FNA
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[BONAP county map]

Subspecies 5 (5 in the flora).

The subspecies of Lilium pardalinum display a classic pattern of discrete geographical ranges with intervening zones of introgression, and no two occur sympatrically without intermixing. Plants in the hybrid zones are confusing in appearance and cannot be assigned to subspecies. However, each subspecies is fairly well marked within its core distribution. With the exception of subsp. pitkinense, the subspecies of L. pardalinum can be common plants in the proper habitats within their rather narrow distributions.

Leaf size and shape are quite variable in Lilium pardalinum subspecies and often clearly dependent on environment. In populations that typically have narrow, ascending leaves, shaded plants often have wide, horizontal leaves. This hampers taxonomic separation as well as identification, especially of herbarium specimens. Further field study is desirable.

Lilium pardalinum is primarily pollinated by western tiger swallowtails (Papilio rutulus Lucas, family Papilionidae) and pale swallowtails (P. eurymedon Lucas); several species of hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) are also important visitors, especially when butterflies are rare.

The Atsugewi, Karok, and Yana ate Lilium pardalinum bulbs steamed or baked in an earth oven (D. E. Moerman 1986).

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

M. L. Fernald (1943e) proposed the variety editorum to account for the more montane plants with wide leaves (2–5 times longer than wide vs. 5–10 in var. canadense), red flowers with slender and elongate tubes with perianth parts arching near or above the middle but not recurved, and narrow petals (0.8–1.3 cm in dried material). Others, including E. T. Wherry (1946) and C. A. Best (1962), sought to characterize the variation better at the subspecific level, and placed more emphasis on ecological differences. In practice, most botanists who recognize var. editorum (e.g., R. M. Adams and W. J. Dress 1982) rely on flower color to designate the varieties, since other characters emerge as quite variable.

Field observations do not strongly support infraspecific splitting of Lilium canadense. Flower color varies widely, and various color forms—usually yellow and orange—are found within single populations in Massachusetts and elsewhere. As interpreted by Adams and Dress, the distributions of the proposed varieties overlap widely, and morphological evidence also offers little support. Leaves 2–10 times longer than wide occur within a sample of plants from Ohio and Alabama that is clearly referable to subsp. editorum in the sense of Adams and Dress, and in these plants the floral tube is wider than that of Massachusetts plants assignable to the nominate variety. Petal widths (fresh material) are 1.2–2 cm. In short, the increasingly refined attempts of the last 60 years to suitably characterize variation in this species suggest that is quite difficult or impossible to do so.

Though no specimens were seen, a report of Lilium canadense from Ashley County in extreme southeastern Arkansas is quite likely to represent L. superbum.

Field observations across the range of the species indicate that the Canada lily is pollinated primarily by ruby-throated hummingbirds [Archilochus colubris (Linnaeus), family Trochilidae].

Native Americans used Lilium canadense medicinally to treat irregular menstruation, stomach disorders, rheumatism, and snake bites. The Cherokee prepared a decoction of boiled rhizomes to fatten children (D. E. Moerman 1986).

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

1. Sepals and petals uniformly yellow or yellow-orange; sepals 3.5–7.1 cm; anthers pale yellow, 0.5–1.3 cm; pollen yellow or orange; pistil 3.1–4.3 cm; capsules 2.3–4.2 cm; n California, s Oregon.
subsp. wigginsii
1. Sepals and petals ± 2-toned, with yellow or orange proximally, distal 1/5–3/5 darker orange to red; sepals 3.7–10.4 cm; anthers magenta, occasionally purple or orange, 0.5–2.2 cm; pollen yellow to rust; pistil 3.3–7.5 cm; capsules 2.2–5.7 cm; California, s Oregon.
→ 2
2. Sepals (5.9–)6.6–10.4 cm; anthers 1.1–2.2 cm; capsules 2.9–5.7 cm; leaves 3–12 times longer than wide, blade ± elliptic; stems strongly clonal, forming large colonies; California.
subsp. pardalinum
2. Sepals 3.7–8.3 cm; anthers 0.5–1.8 cm; capsules 2.2–4.8 cm; leaves 3–34 times longer than wide, blade elliptic to linear; stems weakly to moderately clonal, sometimes forming small colonies; n California, s Oregon.
→ 3
3. Leaves 7.3–34 times longer than wide, often concentrated proximally, often ascending, sometimes horizontal, blade ± linear; sepals (4.9–)5.3–8.3 cm; anthers 0.6–1.8 cm; pollen usually dark orange; extreme nw California, adjacent s Oregon.
subsp. vollmeri
3. Leaves 3–17 times longer than wide, ± evenly distributed along stem, ± ascending or horizontal, blade ± elliptic; sepals 3.7–7.6 cm; anthers 0.5–1.4 cm; pollen yellow, orange, or red- or brown-orange; n California, s Oregon.
→ 4
4. Pollen red- or brown-orange; anthers magenta; bulb scales usually 2-segmented; n Coast Ranges near Sebastopol, California.
subsp. pitkinense
4. Pollen usually yellow or bright orange; anthers orange to magenta; bulb scales (1–)2–4-segmented; ne California, adjacent s Oregon.
subsp. shastense
Source FNA vol. 26, p. 188. FNA vol. 26.
Parent taxa Liliaceae > Lilium Liliaceae > Lilium
Sibling taxa
L. bolanderi, L. canadense, L. catesbaei, L. columbianum, L. grayi, L. humboldtii, L. iridollae, L. kelleyanum, L. kelloggii, L. lancifolium, L. maritimum, L. michauxii, L. michiganense, L. occidentale, L. parryi, L. parvum, L. philadelphicum, L. pyrophilum, L. rubescens, L. superbum, L. washingtonianum
L. bolanderi, L. catesbaei, 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
Subordinate taxa
L. pardalinum subsp. pardalinum, L. pardalinum subsp. pitkinense, L. pardalinum subsp. shastense, L. pardalinum subsp. vollmeri, L. pardalinum subsp. wigginsii
Synonyms L. canadense var. coccineum, L. canadense subsp. editorum, L. canadense var. editorum, L. canadense var. flavum, L. canadense var. rubrum
Name authority Kellogg: Hesperian (San Francisco) 3: 300. (1859) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 303. (1753)
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