Columbia Lily Seeds (Lilium columbianum)
This is a one of those rare gems of forest clearings and open meadows that was likely much more common in the past. Along with habitat loss, this poor creature suffers the additional indignity of people sometimes digging it up from roadsides and hiking trails to take it home.
Found from British Columbia to California and across much of the inland west, Columbia lily flowers in early summer, erupting with vibrant orange tiger-daubed petals that hang downward like some kind of ornate paper lantern. These dazzling flowers are smaller than their common Asiatic garden relatives, but all the more stunning.
Columbia lily produces edible bulbs with scales that can be divided to produce new plants. And, it supposedly grows up to four feet or more in height (although we’ve never seen one much more than a foot or two).
This is a plant that takes patience, dedication, and care to grow from seed, but it’s worth the wait. Try sowing it into containers during the fall with a soil-sand mix. Then leave the containers outside all winter. Newly germinating shoots will be slender and inconspicuous. After several seasons of tiny bulb formation, Columbia lily can be easily transplanted into meadows. Periodically dig up and divide mature plants. They will like this. They will outlive all of us.
Approximately 50 to 100 seeds (0.2 grams)