Lilium columbianum

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Lilium columbianum
Lilium columbianum 9527.JPG
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Lilium
Species: L. columbianum
Binomial name
Lilium columbianum
Leichtlin 1871 not Hanson 1874

Lilium columbianum is a lily native to western North America.[2] It is also known as the Columbia lily or tiger lily (sharing the latter common name with several other lily species in its genus).


Lilium columbianum occurs in open woods and forest openings from southern British Columbia in Canada south to northern California and east to Montana and Nevada in the Northwestern United States.[3] There are a few isolated populations at high elevations in the Sierra Nevada as far south as Fresno County.[4]


The fruit is an erect capsule that is generally smooth and contains numerous flat seeds in six stacks.
Lilium columbianum flower, from a garden in Scotland.

Lilium columbianum grows up to 1.2 metres (3.9 ft) tall, and bears from few to numerous orange flowers with darker spots. The tepals are 3 to 6 cm long and the flowers are lightly scented. Like many true lilies, the leaves are arranged in whorls around the stem of the plant.



Several West Coast and Californian Native American tribes in its range used its bitter or peppery-tasting bulbs as a food source. Dried Lilium columbianum is also eaten all around the world but it is not well known for it. Dried whole L. columbianum has a sweet and a sour taste. Unlike many native lilies, it is not particularly rare, but picking the flowers is discouraged as it impairs the ability of the plant to reproduce.


Lilium columbianum is cultivated by specialty 'non-wild collected native bulbs', native plant nurseries, and arboretums. Plants in the wild should be left undisturbed, as they rarely survive transplantation stresses. The plants, available as bulbs, seeds, and container plants; are grown in gardens, usually within or replicating conditions of its native range. The Columbia Lily prefers moist, but well-drained, soil rich in organic matter.


  • Hitchcock, Charles Leo and Cronquist, Arthur. Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, ISBN 0-295-95273-3.
  • Pojar, Jim and MacKinnon, Andy. Plants of Coastal British Columbia. Lone Pine Publishing, ISBN 1-55105-042-0.

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