Turk’s Cap Lily (Lilium superbum)
Turk’s cap lily is a rare but spectacular sight in the Polpis area of Nantucket, where it grows in shrubby edge habitat. The ornate flowers are bright orange or red, tinged with yellow and spotted with dark speckles near the center, rising above the surrounding vegetation, which affords it some protection from hungry deer.
Unlike the more common wood lily, Turk’s cap lily often reaches 5-6 feet tall! The plant’s nodding flowers grow in a branched cluster, like a candelabra.
Although it’s a perennial plant, you won’t find it at the same address every year. We’ve noticed that it pops up in similar places, but not usually in exactly the same spot. Windswept Bog and Squam Farm are two places you might catch a glimpse of this showy flower.
If you happen to be there at just the right time, consider yourself lucky!
Prepared by: Kelly A. Omand, NCF Science & Stewardship Staff
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