Herb: Yellow Day Lily

Latin name: Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus

Synonyms: Hemerocallis flava

Family: Hemerocallidaceae

Medicinal use of Yellow Day Lily:

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:


60 cm
(2 feet)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Rocky mountain woods, wet meadows and riversides on foothills of the S.E. Alps in Europe.

Edible parts of Yellow Day Lily:

Leaves and young shoots - raw or cooked like asparagus or celery. They must be consumed when very young or else they become fibrous. Flower buds - raw or cooked. They taste somewhat like green beans. They contain about 43mg vitamin C per 100g, 983 IU vitamin A and 3.1% protein. Flowers - raw or cooked. They can be dried and used as a thickener in soups etc. If the flowers are picked just as they start to wither they can be used as a condiment. The flowers are a traditional food in China where they are steamed and then dried. Root - cooked. They taste like a blend of sweet corn and salsify. We have found them to be tender but fairly bland with a slight sweetness. The swollen roots are quite small and are only really worthwhile using if the plant is being dug up for divisions or some other reason.

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 45cm apart each way. The dead leaves should be left on the ground in the winter to ensure effective cover.

Propagation of Yellow 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:

Rocky mountain woods, wet meadows and riversides on foothills of the S.E. Alps in Europe.

Known hazards of Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus:

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.