Carolina Lily: North Carolina's State Flower & ndash; Our State Magazine

North Carolina's state flower, the Carolina Lily, is a wildflower that grows throughout North Carolina.

Search the hills of Cherokee County, and you may find it there. Explore the swamplands of Hyde and Pamlico counties and you may find it there, too. But the plant is not always easy to spot.

It's often mistaken for another plant, the Turk's-cap lily (Lilium superbum). The two appear similar, but there's a sizable difference. While our Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii) grows two to three feet tall and bears about four flowers, the Turk's-cap lily can grow up to three times taller and bear more than twice as many flowers.

Since both of these plants bloom primarily in July and August, use careful judgment when trying to identify Carolina lily.

Its yellow to reddish-orange blooms, speckled with brown spots, will you help it find it growing in the wild.

Carolina Lily: North Carolina's State Flower & ndash; Our State Magazine

If you research the plant, you may find it under another common name, Michaux's lily.

It's named for André Michaux, an 18th-century French explorer whose travels brought him to North Carolina. Here, I have moved along the Appalachian mountain range identifying new plant species, among them the Carolina lily.

The North Carolina highway marker marker stands now in Michaux's honor on State Street in Black Mountain. Another posthumous honor for Michaux came in 2003, when the N.C. General Assembly officially adopted the Carolina Lily as the state's wildflower.

Although we now claim the plant as our own, the Carolina Lily is found in 12 other states throughout the Southeast. Find this flower
The Carolina lily (Lilium michauxii) blooms in July and August.

Find this flower Find it, among other North Carolina native plants, at Coker Arboretum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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  • Adam Floyd