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Home > Features > Living Well > Food > Wild Garden > Day Lily

GreenSense- The Wild Garden

Day Lily

Day Lily, Hemerocallis fulva

Day Lily
Hemerocallis fulva

They bloom for only a day; they can feed you all year. Introduced from Asia for their beautiful, fragrant blossoms, they've jumped the garden fence and gone wild. Now you can find them everywhere in the Eastern U.S.

Day Lilies are named for their yellow (H. flava) or orange (H. fulva) un-spotted, funnel-shaped flowers, each of which lives only a single day. The Day Lily grows from thick, fleshy roots with small, oval tubers. It has narrow leaves about 2 feet long. If you plan to use the young leaves, it's important to distinguish them from Iris leaves, which are poisonous. The flowers grow in loose clusters at the top of a leafless stalk that may reach as tall as 5 feet. Day lilies are native to Asia and used there as food and medicine. Look for them along roadsides, in thickets, near abandoned foundations, and in gardens, throughout the eastern U.S. and in Asia.

This is a versatile plant: From the ground up, you can harvest the tubers anytime (use only the firm ones), the greens (early in the Spring), the buds, the blossoms in full bloom (in the Summer), and the blossoms, withered and dried (all year, if you preserve them). Begin moderately - some people find that Day Lilies disagree with them. Also, for anyone, too many Day Lilies can have a laxative effect.

  • Steam the tubers and serve with butter. Use the the young shoots in a stir-fry (again - make sure you're using Day Lily, NOT Iris leaves!).

  • Pickle the buds or use them fresh in a stir-fry.

  • Create a stuning salad by garnishing with whole or cut up fresh blooms.

  • Serve the fresh blossoms with dollop of whipped cream for a gorgeous, fragrant dessert, or dip them in fritter batter and fry.
  • Pluck the withered blossoms each day and dry them for later use in winter soups and stir-fry.


Spiced Pickled Day-Lily Buds (Opens a new window; close it to return here.)

Medicinal Uses: (Opens a new window; close it to return here.)

Anodyne (China), Depurative (China), Parturition (China), Tumor (Egypt), Ulcer (Egypt), Fever (China), Dropsy (China), Jaundice (China), Lithiasis, (China), Pile (China), Tumor (Breast) (China), Intoxicant (China), Dysuria (China), Diuretic (China), Diuretic (Elsewhere), Hemostatic (Elsewhere), Stimulant (China).

(From Worldwide Plant Uses Database) (Opens a new window; close it to return here.)






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