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Lilium pardalinum

California tiger lily, leopard lily, panther lily

pine lily


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.

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

to 0.9 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.

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, 1–28(–35)-flowered.

occasionally umbellate, 1(–3)-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.

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.


2.2–5.7 × 1.2–2.1 cm, 1.5–3.7 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.

Lilium pardalinum

Lilium catesbaei

Phenology Flowering late summer–fall (late Jun–Oct) in most of range, sporadically spring and fall in peninsular Florida.
Habitat Wet pine flatwoods and savannas, especially in pitcher plant (Sarracenia) bogs with Sphagnum
Elevation 0–200 m (0–700 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.)

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.)

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, p. 179.
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. 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
Subordinate taxa
L. pardalinum subsp. pardalinum, L. pardalinum subsp. pitkinense, L. pardalinum subsp. shastense, L. pardalinum subsp. vollmeri, L. pardalinum subsp. wigginsii
Synonyms L. catesbaei subsp. asprellum, L. catesbaei var. longii
Name authority Kellogg: Hesperian (San Francisco) 3: 300. (1859) Walter: Fl. Carol., 123. (1788)
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