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Orange Day Lily

Common Name: Orange Day Lily.

Scientific Name: Hemerocallis Fulva.

What to look for?  Large orange flowers during the summer! The Orange Day Lily is much like the lilies that you grow in your gardens. This tall wildflower consists of a rosette of green basal leaves and flowering stalks. The basal leaves are sword-like and tend to floppily bend down and outward around the middle. From the center of the rosette, there develops one or more stout flowering stalks that tower above the leaves. At the end of each stalk is a panicle consisting of a few small clusters of large, orange flowers. Each flower consists of six (6) orange tepals (three (3) petals and three (3) sepals that are similar in appearance) that are united at the base but spread outward and backward toward their tips. The throat of the flower is yellow, around which there is a band of red, while the remainder of the flower is some shade of orange. The oblong buds of the flowers are green.

Where can they be found at Carillon Stonegate Pond? Orange Day Lilies were found along the paths on the westside of our western-most pond (Reckinger Road). Other Orange Day Lilies were found on the southern edge of Arlene Shoemaker Forest Preserve along Reckinger Road – also just out our backdoors. Remember that, while the Orange Day Lily blooms during the summer months, each bloom lasts for only a day.

How big are they? Orange Day Lily may grow from three to nearly six feet tall. The sword-like leaves are approximately two to three feet long and one inch across. Each flower is about three to four inches across.

Where do they grow and thrive? The introduced Orange Day Lily has been observed in the wild in most counties of Illinois. The Orange Day Lily grows from a rhizomatous root system and spreads vegetatively via the spreading rhizomes, not from a bulb like the true lilies. It is found along roadsides, woodland edges, riparian edges, and thickets. It grows in a variety of soils, but flowering will be much reduced if not in sun most of the day.

When do they bloom? The blooming period of the Orange Day Lily usually occurs during the summer.

Do birds, insects or other wildlife associate with this plant? The flowers of the Orange Day Lily are successfully cross-pollinated by a variety of insects, including butterflies, bees, flies, and by hummingbirds. Some small bees or flower flies may collect or feed on the pollen from the anthers. Rabbits and White-Tailed Deer enjoy the young tender leaves during the spring but avoid the waxy foliage of the mature plant.

Interesting Facts About the Orange Day Lily:

  • The Orange Day Lily is a true day lily in that the flowers are only open for one day.

  • The Orange Day Lily is considered old-fashioned and replaced by the new hybrid Day Lilies.

  • There are over 13,000 named clones or hybrids from Hemerocallis Fulva or the Orange Day Lily.

  • There are only two species of Day Lily that you may encounter in the wild:  Orange Day Lily and Yellow Day Lily.

  • Orange Day Lily is sometimes referred to as the "ditch lily".

For more information on the Orange Day Lily and sources of information used in this blog (these are several of the sources that I am using to learn as I blog), please visit Illinois Wildflowers, Friends of the Wildflower Garden, and Minnesota Wildflowers.

The Carillon at Stonegate community is very fortunate to have a variety of wetland, forest and prairie environments conducive to a variety of birds and other wildlife, insects and plants. Our community and the Kane County Forest Preserve do an exceptional job in maintaining this natural environment – both for the benefit of the birds and wildlife and for our residents to enjoy.


Take a hike and see what you can find – and identify!

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