Please Don’t Pick the Lilies

Wood lilies are blooming in profusion this year on the Island, in at least one up-Island meadow owned by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and along grassy pathways to the sea on the north shore. Ordinarily considered rare on the Vineyard, the showy, sturdy red-orange lilies have no doubt been encouraged by the hot, dry weather conditions that they so love. The flame-colored blossoms are a lovely summer surprise, winking out of the tall, pale green meadow grass on walks and blueberry-picking expeditions.

The bulbous wood lily is found in dry woods and thickets from southern Ontario and Quebec south to Maine, southern New England, Delaware, Maryland and West Virginia. American Indians gathered the bulbs of the lily for food.

Today the lily, like butterfly weed, another orange wildflower that grows in profusion on the Island, should not be picked, but rather left alone to grow and spread its dark orange beauty for all to enjoy.