Herb: Meadow Lily

Latin name: Lilium canadense

Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Medicinal use of Meadow Lily:

A poultice made from the bulbs is applied to snakebites. A tea made from the bulbs is stomachic and is also used in the treatment of irregular menses and dysentery.

Description of the plant:


150 cm
(5 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Meadows, low thickets and wet woods amongst ferns.

Edible parts of Meadow Lily:

Bulb - cooked. Rich in starch, it can be used as a vegetable in similar ways to potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). The taste is rather like raw green corn on the ear. The bulb can be dried, ground into a powder and used in making bread etc. A famine food, only used when better foods are not available. The bulb is up to 5cm in diameter.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - delayed hypogeal germination. Best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame, it should germinate in spring. Stored seed will require a warm/cold/warm cycle of stratification, each period being about 2 months long. Grow on in cool shady conditions. Great care should be taken in pricking out the young seedlings, many people leave them in the seed pot until they die down at the end of their second years growth. This necessitates sowing the seed thinly and using a reasonably fertile sowing medium. The plants will also require regular feeding when in growth. Divide the young bulbs when they are dormant, putting 2 - 3 in each pot, and grow them on for at least another year before planting them out into their permanent positions when the plants are dormant. Division with care in the autumn once the leaves have died down. Replant immediately. Bulb scales can be removed from the bulbs in early autumn. If they are kept in a warm dark place in a bag of moist peat, they will produce bulblets. These bulblets can be potted up and grown on in the greenhouse until they are large enough to plant out.

Cultivation of Meadow Lily:

Meadows, low thickets and wet woods amongst ferns.

Known hazards of Lilium canadense:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.