Tom's Blog

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Turk's cap (Michigan) lilies!

We are fortunate to have several native populations of Turk's cap (Michigan) lilies (Lilium michiganense). This species isn't really rare (C value of 6), but it is one of the more showy plants and a joy to behold.

In contrast to wood lily, which is a dry prairie species, Turk's cap is found in wetlands such as "moist, mucky, peaty or sandy soils of rich, mesic to wet prairies, sedge meadows, fens, moist borders of mesic hardwoods..." etc etc (Iltis and Cochrane). "Our" Turk's cap lilies are found along the edge of our extensive sedge meadow. Most years they are fairly scattered, but this year the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service did a great burn of the sedge meadow, and the lilies have really benefited. The population shown in the photo generally has 4 or 5 flowers, but this year I counted over 50 luscious flowers, on 9 stems.

The seeds of Turk's cap lily have an interesting germination pattern, called hypogeal. The first stage of germination occurs entirely underground, where a tiny bulb is created. A cool moist period is then required before this bulb sends up a young leaf. Thus, seeds are given a warm, moist stratification period of a few months, followed by a cool, moist period, after which they can be planted.

In contrast, the other lily we are familiar with, the wood lily, exhibits a straightforward (epigeal) germination, sending up a cotyledon directly.

Because of the wetland burn, we are looking forward to great seed collecting in our wetland this year. In addition to the lily, species such as turtlehead, Joe Pye weed, swamp thistle, swamp saxifrage, and sweet Indian plantain, as well as sedges, should be especially prolific. Seeing the response to the burn convinces me that we should figure out some way that we can burn at least part of our wetland every year.


Blogger 天花天花 said...


July 8, 2010 at 3:56 PM  

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