LILY FAMILY - Liliaceae: Wild Yellow, Meadow, or Field Lily; Canada Lily
Flowers--Yellow to orange-red, of a deeper shade within, and speckled with dark, reddish-brown dots. One or several (rarely many) nodding on long peduncles from the summit. Perianth bell-shaped, of 6 spreading segments 2 to 3 in. long, their tips curved backward to the middle; 6 stamens, with reddish-brown linear anthers; 1 pistil, club-shaped; the stigma 3-lobed. Stem: 2 to 5 ft. tall, leafy, from a bulbous rootstock composed of numerous fleshy white scales. Leaves: Lance-shaped to oblong; usually in whorls of fours to tens, or some alternate. Fruit: An erect, oblong, 3-celled capsule, the flat, horizontal seeds packed in 2 rows in each cavity.
Preferred Habitat--Swamps, low meadows, moist fields.
Distribution--Nova Scotia to Georgia, westward beyond the Mississippi.
Not our gorgeous lilies that brighten the low-lying meadows in early summer with pendent, swaying bells; possibly not a true lily at all was chosen to illustrate the truth which those who listened to the Sermon on the Mount, and we, equally anxious, foolishly overburdened folk of to-day, so little comprehend.
"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
"And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Opinions differ as to the lily of Scripture. Eastern peoples use the same word interchangeably for the tulip, anemone, ranunculus, iris, the water-lilies, and those of the field. The superb scarlet Martagon Lily (L. chalcedonicum), grown in gardens here, is not uncommon wild in Palestine; but whoever has seen the large anemones there "carpeting every plain and luxuriantly pervading the land" is inclined to believe that Jesus, who always chose the most familiar objects in the daily life of His simple listeners to illustrate His teachings, rested His eyes on the slopes about Him glowing with anemones in all their matchless loveliness. What flower served Him then matters not at all. It is enough that scientists--now more plainly than ever before--see the universal application of the illustration the more deeply they study nature, and can include their "little brothers of the air" and the humblest flower at their feet when they say with Paul, "In God we live and move and have our being."
Tallest and most prolific of bloom among our native lilies, as it is the most variable in color, size, and form, the Turk's Cap, or Turban Lily (L. superbum), sometimes nearly merges its identity into its Canadian sister's. Travellers by rail between New York and Boston know how gorgeous are the low meadows and marshes in July or August, when its clusters of deep yellow, orange, or flame-colored lilies tower above the surrounding vegetation. Like the color of most flowers, theirs intensifies in salt air. Commonly from three to seven lilies appear in a terminal group; but under skilful cultivation even forty will crown the stalk that reaches a height of nine feet where its home suits it perfectly; or maybe only a poor array of dingy yellowish caps top a shrivelled stem when unfavorable conditions prevail. There certainly are times when its specific name seems extravagant.