Herb: Grassleaf Day Lily

Latin name: Hemerocallis minor

Synonyms: Hemerocallis graminifolia

Family: Hemerocallidaceae

Medicinal use of Grassleaf Day Lily:

Anodyne, antidote, diuretic, febrifuge. 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:


50 cm
(1 foot)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Water meadows, elevated wet places with sandy soils, forest glades, mountain slopes and scrub.

Edible parts of Grassleaf Day Lily:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. They must be consumed when very young or else they become fibrous. One report says that eating these leaves appears to stimulate or intoxicate to some extent. Flowers and flower buds - raw or cooked. Considered to be a great delicacy. The flowers are a traditional food in China where they are steamed and then dried. The flowers can be dried and used as a relish or a thickener in soups etc. The flower buds contain about 43mg vitamin C per 100g, 983 IU vitamin A and 3.1% protein. Root - raw or cooked. A radish-like flavour but not so sharp.

Other uses of the herb:

The tough dried foliage is plaited into cord and used for making footwear.

Propagation of Grassleaf 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:

Water meadows, elevated wet places with sandy soils, forest glades, mountain slopes and scrub.

Known hazards of Hemerocallis minor:

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.