View Full Version : Wild Edible Plant Spotlight - Daylilly

06-19-2010, 02:01 PM
Day Lilly
(Hemerocallis fulva)


One of the most plentiful and versatile wild edibles in my part of the country is the Daylilly. Though it has a wide range, I suspect that much of what is present in my area escaped cultivation. Daylilly is highly colonial and can often be found growing on banks and roadsides. The good news about the Daylilly is that where you find one plant, you are likely to find 100.

Notice the bright orange, unspotted petals. Be careful to make a positive identification, especially when the plants are not in flower, for some other lillies and similar species are poisonous.

Edible Parts:


The petals of the Daylilly are edible and surprisingly sweet. I prefer them just as they are, plucked right off the plant - just make sure to check for bugs and bees! I have also added them to salads for some extra color and sweetness. You can make fritters by dipping the entire flower in runny pancake batter and frying. These are really good sprinkled with powdered sugar. Peterson's guide suggests using withered blooms in stews, but I haven't actually tried this. They are so good raw that I would recommend just eating them as they are.

Flower Buds

The flower buds of the Daylilly are pretty good raw. They remind me of a raw green bean, but better. I have also sauteed them in butter, like asparagus. I imagine they would be good breaded and fried like okra (which is also a flower bud, by the way.)

Shoots and Roots

In the Spring, the young leaves are really tasty and sweet, especially the lower, whiter part. As a general rule, the lighter colored parts of an edible plant are generally milder and sweeter, while the darker parts are more bitter. The shoots make a good base for a spring salad, which I demonstrated in this thread: http://www.wilderness-survival.net/forums/showthread.php?t=11553&highlight=backyard+smorgasbord

The roots are elongated, finger-like tubers. Peterson's suggests that you "prepare them like corn" - but I can't imagine what they mean by that. How exactly do you prepare a tuber "like corn"? The only reasonable preparation that I can imagine is boiling. The boiled tubers have a turnip-like flavor, and are pretty good with some butter and salt. You could mash them up like potatoes, though they are somewhat stringy. The newer, lighter tubers are better than the older, more yellow tubers. The white tubers can be peeled and eaten raw.

I have two pieces of advice for using Daylilly tubers. (1) Wash them THOROUGHLY - much more than you would with a potato, for example. A lot of the bitterness of wild edible tubers simply comes from dirt still present in crevices and nooks. (2) When boiling, change the water at least once. For some wild edible plants, this is necessary in order to get rid of bitterness or toxins. Daylilly tubers are neither, but I would recommend it simply because it is so hard to get them sufficiently clean. Any dirt still clinging to the tuber may come off during boiling, and changing the water would get rid of it.

Much like Cattail, Daylilly is an extremely versitile and widely available wild edible plant. They usually occur in abundance so you could easily make a meal out of Daylilly alone if need be. Many parts of the plant are edible, and most of them can be eaten raw. If the need for food arose, you would be lucky to stumble upon a patch of Daylillies. But don't take my word for it - try it yourself!

06-19-2010, 02:51 PM
THat's a nice write up. Have you ever experienced any negative reactions when eating parts of the daylily?

06-19-2010, 06:39 PM
That's an excellent review PTW. My co-worker and I were just talking about his stand of daylilies and whether we should try them (we identified them as edibles). I wanted to, but he said his wife might get mad if we ate all her flowers LOL.
I know where some wild ones are so I'll be sure to give this one a try very soon. I imagine the flower petals to be as delicious as yucca petals.
can't give you any more rep right now, but that's a great write-up. Somebody give the man a green thingy for me!!

06-19-2010, 07:14 PM
i guess the roots can be used throughout the winter

if one knows how to find / recognize them in the winter

i'll probably mark a few wild daylilies to track their appearance thru the winter

06-19-2010, 09:44 PM
I shot him some rep for you ycc.

06-20-2010, 08:11 AM
I would like to do a few more Wild Edible Plant Spotlights. Some plants are so abundant and so good that it would benefit everyone to know more about them.

06-20-2010, 08:59 AM
Super write up!!! This is a plant everyone would do well to learn. A lot of the guides refer to the flower as "tawny". That refers to the color of the flower and if you think of tanned leather then you have the idea. Brownish orange is also a good description. You got rep from me, too.

06-20-2010, 11:04 AM
I learned a new one. Thank you. My wife did give me a few strange looks as I was removing a few petals from the Daylilies in our yard. Pleasant taste, would look great on a salad.

06-22-2010, 08:04 AM
After reading this I decided to give the raw unopened flowerbuds a try. Excellent! I was out for a hike and my stomach was growling. They filled me up and held me over till lunch.

06-23-2010, 08:59 PM
" all natural " sandwich

3 day lilies between 2 milkweed leaves


06-27-2011, 07:26 PM
mmmmm mmmmm good


06-28-2011, 05:25 AM
CG, are you secretly a rabbit?
just teasing!