Lilium michiganense (Michigan Lily)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Liliaceae (Lily)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist fields, bogs, along shores, edges of woods
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:3 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 6-petals Cluster type: whorled

[photo of flowers] 1 to 8 nodding flowers in a whorl at the top of the plant, each flower at the end of a long naked stalk. Flowers are 2½ to 3 inches across with 6 petal-like tepals that are pale to deep reddish orange fading to more yellowish at the base, with many purplish brown spots. Tepals strongly curve back towards the flower base. 6 long brown-tipped stamens and a long whitish style extend from the flower throat and flare out. The tips of the stamens (anthers) are up to ½ inch long.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: whorl Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are blade-like, up to 5 inches long and ¾ to 1 inch wide, tapering to a point at the tip, with obvious parallel veins. They whorl around the stem in groups of 5 to 9, but there are usually smaller leaves alternately attached at the top of the stem. The main stem is round and smooth.


Michigan Lily is often mistaken for (or mistakenly called) Turk's-cap Lily (Lilium superbum) but there are apparently subtle differences between them. L. superbum is not native to Minnesota, but is found farther south and east. Michigan Lily flowers resemble those of Tiger Lily (L. lancifolium) but the leaves are distinctly different and Tiger Lily has distinctive bulbets in the leaf axils. While Michigan Lily plants are often found singly in the wild, it can produce dense stands under cultivation though many gardeners find it has difficulty persisting over time. For what reason is not clear, populations can collapse within a few seasons and may help explain the randomness of this species in the wild.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden in Lino Lakes, and elsewhere in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Loren - Miltona
on: 2009-07-18 15:38:57

Seen in tall grass along side gravel road.

Posted by: Karen - Minnetonka
on: 2009-07-21 10:29:58

Seen in a wooded area. I've never seen this flower in the wild and thought someone purposely planted it there til I did this search.

Posted by: Linda
on: 2009-07-29 18:27:08

Along Cannon River Trail, near archeological site. 1st time I have seen this plant in wild. There were a seven or more plants spread over a small area along the river side of the trail -- in full bloom (Jul 29 09)

Posted by: Nancy - Rice, MN, Little Rock Lake
on: 2010-04-16 18:25:22

This is a recommended plant for lake shore lines. I have more to plant now. they come from a farm yard where my friend lives

Posted by: M. Bartz - Southern Carlton County
on: 2010-05-23 08:47:05

Growing up I always new this flower by the name Wild Tiger Lily. Still to this day I have trouble calling it anything else, even though most people call it Mighigan Lily or Turk's Cap Lily (even though Turk's cap is a different species). Everytime I see this plant in the summer my heart jumps. Still to this day it may have to be my favorite flower. I think it maybe because these flowers bloomed on or around my birthday, so every year my dad would go out wandering and pick me a big bouquet of these lilies for my birthday.

Posted by: D. Keller - Nerstrand Big Woods
on: 2010-07-06 09:51:22

We were trudging along the trails in Nerstrand Big Woods near Northfield, MN on a hot humid July 5th, swatting a zillion mosquitos off of our faces and necks. Then we spotted a single exotic looking orange lily, downward facing, with it's long stamens dangling like a chandelier. We captured a dozen photographs and were satisfied to cut the hike short. A beautiful flower!

Posted by: Cassandra - Farmington
on: 2010-07-23 08:19:16

I didn't know this was a wildflower. I've seen this in a backyard in Farmington -- it is part of their garden.

Posted by: Terri - Olmsted county
on: 2011-07-10 16:08:47

On the Douglas Bike Trail, between Rochester, and Pine Island, MN - my husband spotted 1 plant along the bike trail --- has photos! :)

Posted by: Phil - Mcloed County
on: 2011-07-13 17:20:14

Found 5-10 plants in Sunrise Park, Lester Prairie. I have been a 5 year regular to the park and have never seen them before. They are very cool.

Posted by: G Odness - LaPorte beside highway 32
on: 2011-07-19 17:39:31

There were 10-20 plants within about 1/2 mile, but that was all I could find.

Posted by: John - Bemidji
on: 2011-07-20 12:46:08

Maybe 100 of these in the ditch along a gravel road south of Bemidji.

Posted by: Carl - Eden Prairie
on: 2012-06-12 20:35:30

We have 4 now beginning to growth in our flower garden. About 3" high this Spring; gift from our son. Waiting for flowers!

Posted by: St. Louis River Trail - Zim, MN
on: 2012-07-10 13:42:42

Found a lone plant along the St. Louis River in Zim, MN

Posted by: John S - Crow Wing County
on: 2012-07-11 17:24:24

Drove along Beauty Lake Rd west of Gull Lake and spotted quite a number of Michigan Lily plants in full bloom. Got some great photos with woodsy background. Saw some more of these along a back road west of Jenkins, MN a week ago. Saw some several years ago near Mission Lake, but highway department mowed them all down this past year.

Posted by: Tammy - St. Louis Co, along Highway 53 going to Duluth
on: 2012-07-19 09:13:08

When I first saw this flower, I was in college and an instructor had taken a picture of it. He told me the name and of course I had forgotten what it was called. Now I have a name to go with the photograph that I took of it!

Posted by: Jane - Lake George
on: 2012-07-31 08:27:57

Found several of these this year in my wooded yard. Have never seen them before in the 4 years I have lived here. Beautiful!

Posted by: Harvey - Bemidji
on: 2013-07-13 16:16:39

Michigan lily seen blooming along Paul Bunyan Bike Trail between Bemidji and Guthrie on 7/13/2013

Posted by: Cecile - East Lake County
on: 2013-07-22 08:35:18

Saw a single plant along the East Split Rock River, and a clump along a gravel road that crosses the river.

Posted by: Keith - Rice County, Mille Lacs County
on: 2014-05-20 15:33:54

I've found these flowers growing abundantly in ditches near Faribault, MN and in Mille Lacs County. They were first described to me as Turk's Cap Lilies, but this webpage has now changed my understanding of the flower.

Posted by: Terry - Chisago County
on: 2014-07-24 21:15:03

These bloom every year at the edge of a wetland behind my house. About fifteen blossoms.

Posted by: Patricia - Carlton co mn
on: 2014-08-11 11:15:14

Michigan Lily along the edge of a pine tree woods in a field of long grass, seen 4 plants in 2013, this year there are 9 plants.

Posted by: Critter Mama - Champlin
on: 2015-04-15 12:26:01

I saw one of these beauties in the marsh behind my backyard in late summer 2013, it was just once and never came back... I was just wondering if you know where can I get seeds/bulbs/cuttings to try to cultivate it in my garden? I absolutely adore this flower :)

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-04-15 20:21:36

Critter Mama, see "where to buy native seeds and plants" that's on most pages of the website. If those native plant vendors don't carry it they may know who does.

Posted by: Shawna - South central indiana
on: 2015-06-29 16:33:06

I found one yesterday on the east side of my hill here in south central Indiana. Looked like a tiger lily of sorts. Glad to find out what exactly it is. I found 2 of them growing amoung the thick wild blackberry bushes.

Posted by: Clarissa - Dell Grove Twshp, Pine County
on: 2015-07-13 16:12:25

Growing along the edge of a pond.

Posted by: MIchelle - Mille Lacs Co approx 9 mi. NE of Princeton
on: 2015-08-07 01:34:13

These have returned to the wet ditches along the gravel road on which I grew up. I adored these as a child back in the early 80s, and sadly, they disappeared completely by 1990. This is the first year I saw a small grouping again and walked out just to verify that they are, in fact, the native species and not an escapee! Yippee!

Posted by: Donna - St Louis County
on: 2015-09-18 04:00:39

I saw these back in July along the bank of the Cloquet River then a few weeks later in the ditch along Hwy 53 just north of Cotton

Posted by: Kathy - Stearns County, Pine Point, Sartell
on: 2016-06-24 06:42:20

We had a few growing wild in our mixed woods along the Mississippi. We only saw them bloom two seasons, after that the deer ate them off. I transplanted some small plants to our yard two seasons ago and they have buds on them this year. I have s tall wire fence around them to protect them from the deer. Four of the plants have flower buds. Crossing my fingers that we will once again enjoy these gorgeous flowers!

Posted by: jess - pillager
on: 2016-07-17 08:31:11

A couple of these are growing in my yard at my wood line. They are most definately the Michigan lily and have been producing new plants very slowly each year. They are on their 3rd year of survival

Posted by: Kenny h - East of rose creek on shooting star trail
on: 2017-07-06 15:54:02

Today is July 6...Michigan Lily is growing randomly here and there...first day I have noticed blooms...took pictures...i think first blooms, are best blooms.

Posted by: Nancy S. - Pine Coounty, Brook Park, MN
on: 2017-07-09 16:42:34

Every year they are growing in the ditches along our country gravel road. They bloom around July 7th or so, slowly multiplying each year. I look forward to their appearance each year!

Posted by: Steve F - Chisago City
on: 2017-07-14 22:29:07

Saw my first today in the woods surrounding a swamp. Probably 10 or so.

Posted by: Nicole V - Beaver Bay
on: 2017-07-27 12:14:33

Found two today along the Beaver River and Superior Hiking trail between Beaver Bay and Silver Bay. Beauties!

Posted by: Ryan Johnston - Guelph, Ontario, CANADA
on: 2018-07-03 16:36:36

I found a lonely Michigan Lily outside of Guelph, Ontario, CANADA today as I cycled through the countryside.

Posted by: Gerald Landby - Lake of the Woods County; 12 miles north of Baudette
on: 2018-07-03 17:13:30

I saw a single plant today on the edge of a ditch. Sure is pretty!

Posted by: Lisa Schreifels - Aitkin County- Esquaqamah Lake
on: 2018-07-08 10:44:27

Blooming now in wet woods. Last year saw a few, this year more.

Posted by: Rob Parrish - Beaver Bay, MN
on: 2018-07-09 20:08:56

Found two along the Split Rock River about 5 miles from Lake Superior.

Posted by: Lee Klement - Castle Danger
on: 2018-07-13 00:24:36

Found a scattered group of 4 plants near a creek. I was a half mile off of highway 61 on a snowmobile trail.

Posted by: Connie Bastyr - Pine County
on: 2018-07-19 12:48:35

Saw two along the Munger Trail today. First I've seen-ever! So beautiful, I HAD to stop to take a photo (despite the threat of ticks in the surrounding grasses). Thank you for help with identifying the plant.

Posted by: Cathy - St. Paul
on: 2018-09-02 19:25:46

Growing in my front yard. Came with the house and not sure how to care for it.

Posted by: W Field - Aitkin County
on: 2019-06-06 01:59:29

Very common in Aitkin County along roadsides and edges of meadows in late summer (haying season). Always wanted to transplant some, but they are basically invisible until they bloom.

Posted by: Brian Blom - Deerwood
on: 2019-07-24 13:36:12

Several spots outside Brainerd, along hwy 18 between CR 25 and CR 6. Also, Hwy 210 between Deerwood and Aitkin.

Posted by: Angela Brumbaugh - Denmark Township
on: 2019-08-02 08:27:41

These are growing in my wooded yard just south of Afton State Park. After living here a few years they just appeared. They have been coming back now for years.

Posted by: Kevin Carlson - BRAINERD
on: 2019-08-12 11:26:20

Nokay Township there are many along the road sides

Posted by: Donna Turner - Circle Pines
on: 2020-07-09 13:09:39

Nearly hidden behind a patch of blackcaps near the edge of a swamp at Baldwin Park in Circle Pines. After walking in this area daily for many years this is my first sighting.

Posted by: David Tetzloff - St Cloud
on: 2020-07-11 17:53:58

Found this unusual flower in our back yard on edge of a wetland. Great color spotted from long ways away.

Posted by: Sarah - Bemidji
on: 2020-07-13 22:12:27

Growing wild along Paul Bunyan trail in Beltrami county.

Posted by: Jill - Bloomington
on: 2020-07-13 23:10:24

Several stands in William O'Brien State Park, on the Beaver Lodge Trail. Fun plant to see in the wild.

Posted by: Carol - Byron
on: 2020-07-14 19:44:53

Spotted 2-3 of these plants/flowers at Rice Lake State Park (7/12).

Posted by: Pam Majkozak - Finlayson, at my home, about 125 yards from Kettle River
on: 2021-07-08 09:06:14

Just saw one plant along my long, gravel driveway. It is swampy there and is a gorgeous orange red color. I plan to try to propagate/ transplant closer to the house.

Posted by: Telle - Near Finlayson (Pine County)
on: 2021-07-10 14:13:41

Found one plant with 3 beautiful flowers in our drainage ditch along the gravel road. We've been here for years and have never seen one before. I hope more appear - the flowers are just lovely!

Posted by: Rebecca Johnston - Oak Center area
on: 2021-07-16 17:32:05

These beautiful lilies were growing in the ditch near our house, just about the time they were ready to bloom the county would mow the ditch. Determined to end this cycle I went out and dug several up in the early spring and transplanted them near our garden. This year one of them had 10 flowers, most had 6 or less. Will they seed? I noticed they have a strange round bulb when I dug them up.

Posted by: jessie - Ramsey
on: 2021-07-26 17:40:32

Saw beautifully growing in a very pristine wetland i run and walk through for the first time in over 10 years. 2021 July

Posted by: Patience Popovich - Oak Grove
on: 2021-11-21 10:49:18

Several came up in my neighbor's shaded ditch, near the end of the driveway here in Oak Grove (Anoka County). I grew up in Michigan. My mom had them growing behind the garage in the garden. They were there for several years and then just went away. I love the wild tiger lily and hadn't seen one since until this past year. There was one plant with 5 blooms. I took pictures of it because I am not sure it will be there next year.

Posted by: Kristin - Lakeville - Ritter Farm Park
on: 2022-07-10 13:30:49

Spotted Michigan Lily for the first time walking Ritter Farm Park. It was growing near a marsh out in the open sun.

Posted by: Kare - Clover Township
on: 2022-07-14 12:25:50

Two separate plants of one stalk each. One blooming and one in bud on the edge of a wooded area near Lake Wilbur.

Posted by: Harriet Johanson - Anoka county
on: 2022-07-18 09:44:13

Spotted alongside the road in a damp ditch boggy area in a regional park. 07/18/22

Posted by: Paul Richert - Scandia, MN
on: 2022-07-21 14:14:27

I'm pretty confident this plant is now in the road ditch next to our property. Last year it was on property in the road ditch.

Posted by: Tom A Johnson - Swatara, MN
on: 2022-07-27 15:11:03

spotted 2 plants next to each other along a wooded trail on our hunting land. We have never seen them in 15 years of hunting those woods.

Posted by: Jon Nicholson - Union Twp., Houston County
on: 2023-02-25 10:25:49

Back when I lived on a remote property that I owned, I had a little colony of Michigan lilies on a small island in a stream bed.

Posted by: Donna Turner - Lino Kakes, Anoka County, MN.
on: 2023-07-07 15:30:50

Growing near the road by the parking area for the canoe launch on Aqua Lane in the Rice Creek Chain of Lakes Park Reserve.

Posted by: Steve - Sturgeon lake
on: 2023-07-08 12:23:45

After buying a property with a creek running through it to a river out back I've spent the last ten years clearing the buckthorn. The third year one Michigan lily showed up. Seven years later I have over seventy. They've made a huge come back after getting rid of the invasive buckthorn and I've done nothing to cultivate them.

Posted by: Ronald Johannsen - Trenton Lake
on: 2023-07-17 17:45:43

Very showy this year numbers vary year to year.

Posted by: Jill - South St. Louis County
on: 2023-07-18 17:48:47

We just built our house on a wooded property. We saw a couple of single plants growing along the gravel road in a wet, somewhat sandy soil. Beautiful! We'll have to see if they cone back each year.

Posted by: Hannah - Brownsdale, Minnesota
on: 2024-01-06 21:31:22

These flowers have grown wild in the ditches near our farm in Sargeant, Minnesota. They have come back every year for the past 30 years. Recently, I spotted some on highway 56 just north of Brownsdale. I stopped to confirm that they were wild tiger lillies (michigan lily) and they were. There were only 2 plants. A couple weeks later the ditch was mowed. It was nice to see them popping up somewhere else when the other type of tiger lily tends to be everywhere.

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