The lily family is complex and contains as many as 4,000 species, according to the "National Audubon Field Guide to Wildflowers." Lilies typically develop from bulbs, rhizomes or underground stems. The leaves are usually narrow and feature multiple parallel veins. Some of the most common flowers used as ornamentals are part of the lily family, including tulips and day lilies.
The common camas grows from British Columbia southward into California, existing in states such as Montana and Wyoming as well. Common camas is a flower of the moist meadows and floodplains, usually found growing near water. Common camas is and was an important edible plant, with the Native Americans who cooked the bulbs in a pit. Common camas will grow in full sunshine or partial shade and at depths of from 2 to 8 inches. The plant needs moist ground in which to flourish. The grass-like leaves develop at the base of the plant, which may grow between 12 and 28 inches tall. The flowers, different shades of blue, occur in spike-like clusters and bloom from April through June. The Nez Perce tribe of Idaho introduced the common calas to the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805. By 1850, common calas became a popular ornamental.
The Canada mayflower is useful in gardens and as ground cover, growing from 3 to 6 inches high and generating through rhizomes. The Canada mayflower's bloom has four small petals, is white and grows on the end of a short stem. The leaves exist on the plant in pairs, with sometimes as many as three. The foliage is broad and possesses a base shaped like a heart. In summer, the flowers turn into small but attractive berries---red with speckles. The range of Canada mayflower is across Canada and into the eastern United States as far south as Georgia. This member of the lily family grows in the northwest as far west as Montana and Wyoming. Canada mayflower grows in clearing and woodlands. When growing Canada mayflower, keep taller plants away from it and put the plants in a spot that has moist to somewhat dry soil. Canada mayflower does best in shade or in spots where the sunshine is not direct.
False Solomon's Seal
The false Solomon's seal is a wildflower of the lily family. The plant will have a stem that often seems to grow in a zigzag pattern through the leaves, which are strongly veined. False Solomon's seal is able to form colonies through its rhizome roots, spreading about in small areas. In the wild, it grows in forests and their clearings, able to do well in shade or partial sun locations. The plant will adapt to rocky soil and sandy ground if necessary. False Solomon's seal blooms from April into June and then the berries emerge. The berries start out red, but then change to green with tiny red dots upon them as ripen from August into October. The berries and seeds are food for animals as small as mice and as large as deer.