Tiger lilies are actually a family of flowers that once grew wild in many parts of the world. Now, however, tiger lilies are an endangered species in many places. The reasons are many, including people digging them up and taking them home, land being used for development and the fact that many animals, such as deer, see the tiger lily as food.
Each type of tiger lily has its own features, but they do have certain characteristics in common. All tiger lilies will have either spots or stripes and one strong stem. Tiger lilies also have distinctive leaves. They grow opposite each other on the stem, four of them making a perfect circle. Tiger lilies are also some of the most fragrant flowers. Tiger lilies grow from bulbs and are easy to plant and care for.
Columbia lily is a member of the tiger lily family that grows wild from British Columbia in the north to northern California in the south, and from the Pacific Coast in the west and as far east as Idaho and Nevada. The Columbia lily grows about 4 feet tall. Each plant can have just one flower, or it may have more than one. The flowers are orange with darker orange spots. The Columbia lily can be grown in home gardens, but only in its native area. It needs well-drained soil with organic fertilizer or mulch. Do not take plants from the wild; they do not do well in home gardens. The Columbia lily is drought resistant, a good choice for areas with little irrigation.
Asian Tiger Lily
The Asian tiger lily is native to China, Korea and Japan and ranges in color from red to yellow. The bulbs are a food source in China. When fully grown, the Asian tiger lily can have up to 24 flowers on a single stem. It does not have a true seed. It grows little black bulblets on the outside of the leaves. If you gather them when they start to drop off, you can grow them in pots. The Asian tiger lily available in the United States grows from 2 to 3 feet tall.
The Wood lily is also known as the Philadelphia lily, prairie lily or western red lily and is an American native. The plant will grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet, and the flowers can be red or orange. The wood lily can be found in most of the United States and Canada. This lily is on the endangered list in many places and should not be taken from the wild. Plant the bulbs in well-drained soil and in partial sun. Mulch in the late fall, after the ground is frozen over.
The Michigan lily grows wild in the eastern United States and Canada and as far southwest as Oklahoma. It has an orange flower with the distinctive tiger lily spots. The Michigan lily is one of the largest of the tiger lily family, reaching a height of 5 feet. Each stem will produce anywhere from one to six flowers, each one up to 3 inches wide. The colors range from yellow to red-orange with brown/purple spots. The Michigan lily likes full or partial sun and a rich, moist soil. This lily attracts bees, butterflies and many varieties of birds.