Herb: Common Day Lily

Latin name: Hemerocallis fulva

Family: Hemerocallidaceae

Medicinal use of Common Day Lily:

Diuretic, febrifuge, laxative (mild). The flowers are anodyne, antiemetic, antispasmodic, depurative, febrifuge and sedative. In China they are used as an anodyne for women in childbirth. An extract of the flowers is used as a blood purifier. The rhizome has shown antimicrobial acivity, it is also tuberculostatic and has an action against the parasitic worms that cause filariasis. It is used in Korea to treat oppilation, jaundice, constipation and pneumonia. The juice of the roots is an effective antidote in cases of arsenic poisoning. The root also has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer - extracts from the roots have shown antitumour activity. A tea made from the boiled roots is used as a diuretic.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Common and widespread in the wild, probably as an escape from cultivation.

Edible parts of Common Day Lily:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. An asparagus or celery substitute. An excellent sweet tasting vegetable, though some caution is recommended. The leaves need to be eaten whilst still very young since they quickly become fibrous. Flowers - raw or cooked. The petals are thick and crunchy, making very pleasant eating raw, with a nice sweetness at the base because of the nectar. The flowers can also be dried and used as a thickener in soups etc. In this case, they are picked when somewhat withered and closed. A rich source of iron. Flower buds - raw or cooked. A pea-like flavour. Can be dried and used as a relish. The dried flower contains about 9.3% protein. 25% fat!?, 60% carbohydrate (rich in sugar), 0.9% ash. It is rich in vitamin A. Tubers - raw or cooked. A nutty flavour. Young tubers are best, though the central portion of older tubers is also good.

Other uses of the herb:

The tough dried foliage is plaited into cord and used for making footwear. Plants form a spreading clump and are suitable for ground cover when spaced about 90cm apart each way. The dead leaves should be left on the ground in the winter to ensure effective cover. The cultivar "Kwanso Flore Pleno" has been especially mentioned.

Propagation of Common Day Lily:

Seed - sow in the middle of spring in a greenhouse. Germination is usually fairly rapid and good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow the plants on for their first winter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring. Division in spring or after flowering in late summer or autumn. Division is very quick and easy, succeeding at almost any time of the year. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Common and widespread in the wild, probably as an escape from cultivation.

Known hazards of Hemerocallis fulva:

Large quantities of the leaves are said to be hallucinogenic. Blanching the leaves removes this hallucinatory component. (This report does not make clear what it means by blanching, it could be excluding light from the growing shoots or immersing in boiling water.)

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.