Lilium superbum L.

Turk's-cap lily

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

The spectacular Turk's-cap lily, the largest lily in northeastern North America, is pollinated by eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), one of the largest butterflies in New England. Though hybrid lilies are more typically grown as garden ornamentals, Turk's-cap lily is one native that is frequently cultivated.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), forest edges, shrublands or thickets, wetland margins (edges of wetlands)

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
Leaf arrangement
whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
Leaf blade shape
  • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
  • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
Leaf blade length
71–261 mm
Flower petal color
  • blue to purple
  • orange
  • pink to red
  • yellow
Flower petal length
70–102 mm
Petal fusion
the perianth parts are separate
Inflorescence type
the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
Ovary position
the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
Fruit type (specific)
the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
Fruit length
29–62 mm
Show All Characteristics
  • Clonal plantlets
    Axillary bulblets
    there are no bulblets being produced in axils
  • Flowers
    Anther attachment
    the anther is attached at its midpoint to the filament
    Anther color
    there is a noticeable pink, reddish or purplish tint to the anthers
    Anther length
    14–26 mm
    Bulblets replace flowers
    there are no bulblets where the flowers are located
    Carpels fused
    the carpels are fused (the number of carpels equals the number of locules)
    Flower bracts
    there are bracts associated with the flower
    Flower number
    1–22
    Flower orientation
    the flowers curve or droop downwards
    Flower petal color
    • blue to purple
    • orange
    • pink to red
    • yellow
    Flower petal length
    70–102 mm
    Flower shape
    the flower is another shape
    Flower symmetry
    there are two or more ways to evenly divide the flower (the flower is radially symmetrical)
    Form of style
    the style is lobed at the tip, and unbranched
    Fringed petal edges
    the petals are not fringed
    Hairs on flower stalk
    the flower stalk has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence hair glands
    the axis of the inflorescence has no hairs on it
    Inflorescence type
    the inflorescence is a raceme (a long unbranched stem with stalked flowers growing along it)
    Length of flower stalk
    74–191 mm
    Marks on petals
    • the petals have spots or streaks on them
    • there are no noticeable marks on the petals
    Nectar spur
    the flower has no nectar spurs
    Number of carpels
    3
    Number of pistils
    1
    Number of sepals and/or petals
    there are six petals, sepals or tepals in the flower
    Number of styles
    1
    Ovary position
    the ovary is above the point of petal and/or sepal attachment
    Petal and sepal arrangement
    the flower includes two cycles of petal- or sepal-like structures
    Petal appearance
    the petals are thin and delicate, and pigmented (colored other than green or brown)
    Petal base
    the petal narrows gradually or does not narrow at the base
    Petal fusion
    the perianth parts are separate
    Petal hairs on inner/upper surface
    there are no hairs on the inner/upper petal surface
    Petal nectaries
    there are nectaries at the petal bases
    Sepal appearance
    the sepals resemble petals in color and texture
    Sepal length
    68–105 mm
    Sepal orientation
    • the sepals are curved outwards and downwards
    • the sepals are slightly curved outwards from the plant
    Sepals fused only to sepals
    the sepals are separate from one another
    Spathe
    the plant does not have a spathe
    Spathe form
    NA
    Stamen number
    6
    Stamen position relative to petals
    NA
    Stamen types
    the stamens within a cycle are all similar
    Stamens fused
    the stamens are not fused to one another
    Stamens fused outwards
    the stamens are not fused to the petals or tepals
    Style petal-like
    the style is not broad and flattened like a petal
    Tepals
    the petals and sepals are similar in size and color
  • Fruits or seeds
    Berry color
    NA
    Capsule ridges
    there are no ribs or wings on the capsule
    Fruit compartments
    there are three locules in the fruit
    Fruit cross-section
    • the fruit is at least somewhat flattened
    • the fruit is round in cross-section
    Fruit length
    29–62 mm
    Fruit type (general)
    the fruit is dry and splits open when ripe
    Fruit type (specific)
    the fruit is a capsule (splits along two or more seams, apical teeth or pores when dry, to release two or more seeds)
    Fruit width
    17–25 mm
    Other markings on berry
    NA
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Lifespan
    the plant lives more than two years
    Root septa
    the roots do not have transverse septa
    Underground organs
    • the plant has a rhizome (a horizontal underground stem with roots growing from it)
    • the plant has one or more swollen storage organs underground, such as bulbs, tubers or corms
    • there are only slender roots on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Hairs on upper side of leaf blade
    the upper side of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    whorled: there are three or more leaves per node along the stem
    Leaf blade basal lobes
    the leaf blades do not have basal lobes
    Leaf blade base
    the leaf has no stalk
    Leaf blade base shape
    the base of the leaf blade is cuneate (wedge-shaped, tapers to the base with relatively straight, converging edges), or narrow
    Leaf blade cross-section
    the leaf blade is more or less flat in cross-section
    Leaf blade faces
    both surfaces of the leaf blade are exposed
    Leaf blade form
    Fully-formed (i.e., expanded), +/- green leaf blades are found somewhere on the plant
    Leaf blade length
    71–261 mm
    Leaf blade orientation
    the upper surface of the leaf blade faces the stem of the plant
    Leaf blade shape
    • the leaf blade is elliptic (widest near the middle and tapering at both ends)
    • the leaf blade is oblanceolate (lance-shaped, but with the widest point above the middle of the leaf blade)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    the upper side of the leaf blade is relatively uniform in color
    Leaf blade tip
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acuminate (tapers to a long, thin point)
    • the tip of the leaf blade is acute (sharply pointed)
    Leaf blade veins
    the lateral veins are parallel or slightly arched in the direction of the tip
    Leaf blade width
    7–27 mm
    Leaf stalk length
    0 mm
    Leaf type
    the leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets
    Leaflet number
    0
    Stipule twining
    NA
    Stipules
    there are no stipules on this plant
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • edges of wetlands
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • shrublands or thickets
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the leaves have no particular smell
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem growth form
    the flowering stem is held upright
    Flowering stem leaves
    there is at least one fully-formed leaf on the flowering stem
    Stem hairs
    the stem is nearly or completely hairless

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
absent
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
New Hampshire
extremely rare (S-rank: S1), endangered (code: E)

Native to North America?

Yes

Sometimes Confused With

Lilium canadense:
tepals slightly recurved and without ridges on outer surface and styles yellow to orange-yellow, colored like the tepals (vs. L. superbum, with tepals strongly recurved and ridged on outer surface and the styles green).
Lilium lancifolium:
leaves alternate, with bulbils in the upper axils (vs. L. superbum, with leaves whorled, without axillary bulbils).

Synonyms

  • Lilium canadense ssp. superbum (L.) Baker

Family

Liliaceae

Genus

Lilium

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

4.  Lilium superbum L. N

Turk’s-cap lily. Lilium canadense L. ssp. superbum (L.) Baker • CT, MA, NH, RI. Forest openings and edges, thickets, borders of swamps, roadsides.