Friday, July 16, 2010

Michigan Lily

Today Erika and I rode our bicycles along the Sakatah Singing Hills State Trail.  Just west of Warsaw, we zipped by a few lilies in a marshy area below the trail-side.  In college I contemplated becoming a botany major, but a number of events conspired against that path. I remain, however, interested in wildflowers.  Over the years, I have taken a few wildflower photos (the flower photos are after all the birds), which you can see at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/danerika?showall=true#100

In any case, today's lilies struck me as small but intense orange, with their petals oddly reflexed towards the sky.  We stopped and peddled back to the flowers, Michigan Lilies, Lilium michiganense. They are found across much of the Midwest. This plant is threatened in Tennessee and endangered in New York.  In Minnesota, it has become uncommon due to conversion of wetlands to farmland and because of roadside maintenance destroying habitat (Moyle and Moyle, Northland Wildflowers, U MN Press 2001).

By the way, this lily's nomenclature is a bit confusing.  Moyle and Moyle call this flower the Turk's-cap Lily. The USDA plant database (http://plants.usda.gov), however, reserves this common name for Lilium superbum, a plant not known to occur in Minnesota.

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