The Feisty Forager: Daylily

SG Séguret
2 min readMar 30, 2022

March Madness — Day 29

Day Lily (photo © SG Séguret)

With more than 35,000 registered cultivars, the daylily (Hemerocallis spp.) is one of the world’s most prolific and varied flowering plants. Despite their common name, they are not a true lily. While true lilies are toxic to humans, all parts of daylilies are edible: shoots, roots, stems, leaves, buds and flower petals.

Try gathering the young buds and sautéing them ever so lightly, and using them as a garnish or as an addition to a stirfry. Gather young shoots and cook like asparagus. Boil the tuber and serve with butter like a potato. Separate the petals and toss in a salad. Or use the entire flower to garnish a cake or any dish you confect during the blossoming season.

Eat a small amount to start out with, and make certain you have gathered a daylily and not a true lily. Also, take care to gather from a spot that has not been sprayed (avoid public roadsides).

Daylilies are rich in vitamin A and vitamin C, and also are a source of iron and protein.

This article is one of a month-long series of foraged treasures. For more recipes from the field and forest, check out Appalachian Appetite: Recipes from the Heart of America.

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SG Séguret

Susi Gott Séguret, fiddler, dancer, photographer, chef, is author of multiple works, including Appalachian Appetite, Child of the Woods & Cooking with Truffles.