Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council Plants Resource Page

Plant of the Month - Humboldt Lily

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Plant Description

Common Name(s):Humboldt Lily
Scientific Name:Lilium humboldtii
Plant Type:Perennial
Size:up to 8 feet
Habitat:Chaparral and Oak Woodland, near streams
Blooms:May to July

Humboldt Lilies are one of the most striking flowers seen in the Santa Monica Mountains. Yellow to bright orange with maroon spots and about 3 inches in diameter, up to 50 flowers may be found on any one plant. Blooming is from May to July. Given the plant's height, you often find yourself looking up to these flowers.

The flowers have 3 petals and 3 sepals, which look alike, curving upward and back. From the center of the flower hang 6 long stamens with orange-colored anthers. The bright green leaves are 3-5 inches long, wavy, and occur in whorls of 10-20 leaves around the stem. The plant sprouts forth from a bulb and its preferred habitat is near intermittent streams, although it does like some dappled sunshine.

The species name humboldtii is for German geographer and explorer Baron Alexander von Humboldt. You may hear people calling this plant the Tiger Lily, but this is a misnomer, for that is a different plant.

Contributed by Liz Baumann

Other Similar Plants:
Mariposa Lily Calochortus species
Chocolate Lily Fritillaria biflora
Red Skinned Onion Allium haematochiton
Golden Star Bloomeria crocea
Globe Lily Calochortus albus

Originally featured: June 2011
Last modified: May 12 2017 23:41:03.
Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley
Flowering Plants: The Santa Monica Mountains, Coastal and Chaparral Regions of Southern California, by Nancy Dale
Images Botanical Terms for Leaves