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Lilium pardalinum

California tiger lily, leopard lily, panther lily

Michigan 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.

usually yellowish, rhizomatous, unbranched, 1.6–5.8 × 4.9–14.1 cm, 0.3–0.5 times taller than long, 2 years’ growth evident as annual bulbs, scaleless sections between these 2.6–6.2 cm;

scales unsegmented, longest 1–3 cm;

stem roots present or absent.


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

to 1.9 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.

in 4–12 whorls or partial whorls, 3–13 leaves per whorl, ± horizontal or ascending in sun, drooping at tips, 4.6–15.3 × 0.6–2.3 cm, 3.5–13.7 times longer than wide;

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

principal and some secondary veins impressed adaxially, veins and margins noticeably roughened abaxially with tiny ± deltoid epidermal spicules, especially on proximal leaves.


racemose, 1–28(–35)-flowered.

racemose, 1–11-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 Turk’s-cap-shaped;

sepals and petals reflexed 1/4–2/5 along length from base, yellow-orange or sometimes orange-yellow or orange proximally, red-orange distally, with maroon, often large spots, red-orange or occasionally red or orange-red abaxially, not distinctly clawed;

sepals not ridged abaxially, 5.5–9.3 × 1.2–2 cm;

petals 5.3–9.1 × 1.5–2.2 cm;

stamens moderately exserted;

filaments parallel at first, then ± widely spreading, diverging 13°–23° from axis, pale yellow-green;

anthers magenta or occasionally pink-magenta, 0.6–1.3 cm;

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

pistil 3.4–6.5 cm;

ovary 1.5–2.9 cm;

style red entirely or only distally;

pedicel 11–22 cm.


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

2.8–5 × 1.5–2.6 cm, 1.4–2.8 times longer than wide.



not counted.


= 24.

Lilium pardalinum

Lilium michiganense

Phenology Flowering summer (mid Jun–Jul).
Habitat Tallgrass prairies, streamsides, swamps and bottoms, moist woodland edges, lakeshores, ditches along roads and railways, often calciphilic
Elevation 100–600 m (300–2000 ft)
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
from FNA
[WildflowerSearch map]
[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.)

B. Boivin and W. J. Cody (1956) proposed uniting Lilium michiganense and L. superbum as subspecies of L. canadense on the basis of overall similarity, though it is now well accepted that L. superbum does not belong there. There can be little doubt as to the close relationship between L. michiganense and L. canadense, however, and vegetatively the two are often indistinguishable. Hybrid intermediates occur across a wide band where the distributions meet in central Ohio and northwestern New York (R. M. Adams and W. J. Dress 1982). It would not be unreasonable to include L. grayi and treat them as subspecies, but floral differences among the three are comparable to those between other species in the genus.

Farwell’s proposed varieties uniflorum and umbelliferum were described from young plants with single flowers and umbellate inflorescences respectively, but young plants with these characteristics are found throughout the range of this species.

Plants examined from east-central Tennessee (e.g., Wayne and Coffee counties) that were previously referred to Lilium michiganense are L. superbum in some cases, in others L. canadense perhaps introgressed with L. michiganense.

The Michigan lily often co-occurs in tallgrass prairies with Lilium philadelphicum; here as everywhere it usually blooms much later. However, it flowers earlier than L. canadense where their ranges are contiguous in Ohio (E. L. Braun 1967).

Lilium michiganense is pollinated primarily by swallowtail butterflies; in the southern part of its range these include the pipevine [Battus philenor (Linnaeus), family Papilionidae]. Great spangled fritillaries [Speyeria cybele (Fabricius), family Nymphalidae] also visit this species and carry its pollen, though it is unlikely that this brushfooted butterfly is a major pollinator.

(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. 195.
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. catesbaei, L. columbianum, L. grayi, L. humboldtii, L. iridollae, L. kelleyanum, L. kelloggii, L. lancifolium, L. maritimum, L. michauxii, 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 subsp. michiganense, L. canadense var. umbelliferum, L. michiganense var. umbelliferum, L. michiganense var. uniflorum
Name authority Kellogg: Hesperian (San Francisco) 3: 300. (1859) Farwell: Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 42: 353. (1915)
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