Friday 5: Daylilies

I remember loving the scenery on a bus ride from England to Scotland in 2007 and lamenting that wildflowers are not more abundant at home. To me, wildflowers are more attractive than garden flowers because of the independent spirit they exude.

My recent drives around Perry County have disproved my belief that Central PA lacks wildflowers. Perhaps my vision was clouded from growing up in a college town surrounded by cornfields. Now, I see splashes of orange daylilies strung along the roads and hills like streamers at a birthday party for summer.

Wild daylily

Wild daylily growing next to my apartment. Duncannon, PA. June 2012

To celebrate the daylily, I’m sharing five facts on this prolific flower.

  1. Scientific name: Hemerocallis fulva
  2. Daylily blossoms only last a day before beginning to wither.
  3. The blossoms are edible and nutritious. Try them as a garnish on salads or dehydrate them to add to soup. “If you wait and add the blossoms to your soup or stew towards the end of the cooking time, they will retain their flavor, texture and appearance, adding a bit of brightness and color,” says master herbalist Darryl Patton.
  4. A botanist named Arlow Stout pioneered the hybridization of daylilies. In more than 50,000 cross-breeding experiments he created 100 varieties of daylilies. This led to the popular availability of daylilies in nurseries.
  5. There are entire groups dedicated to daylilies! E.g. American Hemerocallis Society, Australian Daylily Society
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