Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tigers Like These Mountains

Usually these Humboldt Lilies (Lilium humboldtii spp ocellatum), commonly called Tiger Lilies, are done blooming by this time of year.  I found these today in a very shaded area in the middle of some cedar and dogwood trees.  They're native to Southern California mountains and foothills.  Once considered invasive, now they're on the endangered list, mostly due to loss of habitat.  I'm always surprised when I see these flowers in this forest because they look so exotic and tropical.  But California is the only place in the world where this species naturally occurs!

It's interesting how these flowers propagate themselves.  They grow from bulbs, but they make those bulbs from little seeds.  In the fall the seed must land on exactly the right spot in the soil where it can burrow in and rest over the winter.  If there is enough winter rain, the seed makes a microscopic bulb and sends up one small green shoot that looks like a blade of grass.  It takes about five to six years for the bulb to get big enough to produce flowers.  I found an online nursery, Las Pilitas, that sells the bulbs.  They're out now, but I'm going to check back next spring to see if they have some for sale.  Here's hoping...


  1. I guess tiger lilies are a common name for any orange lily. Here we apply the same name to one that looks like a day lily. I couldn't tell you what the proper name is. Your tiger lilies are very delicate and sweet :) Wendy x

  2. What stunning beauty, found on your wild, magical mountain! Just gorgeous.
    So true, I imagine tiger lilies growing abundantly in a lush tropical rainforest - the kind where a real striped tiger might brush by on his way to cool off in a jungle pool.

  3. Thanks, Wendy. I don't know about delicate, though...I should have mentioned that they get to about eight feet tall and the blossoms are usually about six inches across.

    Thanks Vicki...wouldn't it be wondrous if these lilies could conjure up a real tiger, a friendly one? :)

  4. Wow, how interesting to hear, such a hard process of regeneration, burrowing into the ground!


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