Iowa Seed Origin-One of the most vigorous and healthy lily species I have ever grown. I love lilies. My grandmother always loved showing us kids around her yard in the summer to make sure we saw and appreciated her lily plants. Apparently this kind of rubbed off on me and I started growing a lot of lily species after she passed. I too was enamored by the lily. For one I was trying to find an edible bulb species and this is one of them that was harvested and baked in open fires. The flavor is good, but the yield aspect is low and it would take a field of them planted over a decade to make it practical to work. But hope springs eternal...just like lilies!!!
This seed strain came to me from a company in Iowa that had collected the seed in a remnant prairie. When I started growing it, I had assumed it would reach the usual 5-6 ft. height but instead the plants grew upward to 10 ft. tall. When people would come to my home I too have to show them my lilies. They would often remark, "I didn't know lilies got that tall!" After a period of time, I selected the most vigorous plants with strong growth. This strain has worked well in the shade of walnuts at my farm as well as the oaks at my home. It is edible but the small side bulbs do not provide much in the way of yield. But it is possible to use the small rhizome type bulbs to expand the planting as well as from seeds. There is some discussion that this might be misidentified. I have now grown many lily species from throughout Michigan wild collected seeds and beyond. For now I am sticking with this identification as I did trust the seed source. The variability may lie only with the length of the stamens in some cases. Either way the overall height of this selection is unique and other growers have commented on this over the years.
How to Germinate the Seeds: The seeds often are dormant in two ways. First plant the seeds in the fall in a prop tray outside or refrigerate. In the spring plant the seeds roughly 1/2 inch to 1 inch deep. A tap root will form the first season. In the second year a small grass like hair will spout and this is really the beginning of the bulb. After that the bulb can be moved and planted in its original spot. The reason you do not see this bulb for sale much is the length of time to develop a saleable bulb. If for sale, often they sell for double or triple the price of a normal lily bulb. But once established the bulbs can live for many decades and self regenerate from seeds. I have spring planted them without stratification too to help prep the seed for that first year dormancy. I have expanded my seed plantings of this lily dramatically. Watch out for browsing from white tail deer on the foliage if you can.
|Genus & Species||Lilium michiganese|
|Seed Source||Grown in Michigan-originally collected in Iowa uncultivated-wild.|
|Hardiness||minus 30F or more.|
|Height (ft)||8-10 ft.|
|Width (ft)||18 inches wide|
|Soil||Does well in part shade. Add a layer of composted bark over it.|
|Ease of Cultivation||From seed, slow to get started and takes up to 3 years to flower. Once you have a batch of them growing you can easily keep propagating by the small bulbs on the rhizome or from seed. So many possibilities of these being used as a wildlife seed blend for hummingbirds, moths and butterflies. Seeds are easy to collect and distribute. The first year dormancy is slow and takes two years to get a bulb. I cover the bulb area after mature with three inches of cow manure.|