The name Ditch Lily is appropriate. I acquired my stand by digging a clump from the side of Queenswood Road or old Deacon Street near our village of Groveland, IL. The site was nostalgic as it was near the Deacon Street cemetery where an early 1800’s prairie church once stood. I like to think that the lilies bloomed in June for them as well. Because they were a free-roaming flower, they are often found near aging farm houses and add an authentic touch to our country garden.
These simple wild lilies, also called Field Lilies or Tiger Lilies, bloom in spreading clusters from early June in Central Illinois. In addition to bringing a mass of melon color to the garden, they are also edible. The blooms can be stir fried just before opening or the flower petals can be added to salads. BEWARE however. The more exotic Asian Lily is NOT edible.
Notice that the Asian Lily, above, has leaves that jut out up and down the stalk whereas the Ditch Lily’s leaves all protrude from the base of the stalk.
The Asian Lily bloom is more waxy than the Ditch Lily and deeper in color. I love them all but it fascinates me that something growing freely along country roads in an awesome display is a source of naturally foraged food. Someone had a grand idea, didn’t He.