(Hemerocallis fulva)

Poor Man
A Pictorial Portrait

Illustrations and photos by "Wildman," clipart from

This delicious Asian "show" flower, especially common on the east coast, has been planted throughout America. It gets its name because each flower lives only 1 day.

Use the shoots in early spring, and the flower buds, flowers, and wilted flowers in late spring and early summer.

Caution: Daylilies, especially the raw shoots, cause digestive distress in about 1 out of 50 people, and in rare circumstances (I've never seen this happen), the compounds that cause this are concentrated enough to make anyone sick.

Daylily Shoot, Painting

Daylily Shoot

The sword-like leaves with parallel veins arise in late winter and early spring, growing in dense stands. Rhizomes (underground stems) ending in thickened tubers distinguishes this plant from poisonous lilies.

Daylily Shoot & Tubers
Daylily Shoot

Use raw the shoots raw in salads, or sautÈ, steam, stir-fry, deep-fry, bake, simmer in soups, or pickle.

Persimmon Branch
Daylily Shoots

Growing in dense stands makes the shoots easy to collect in quantity before most other edibles even appear.

Daylily Flower Buds
Daylily Flower Buds

Cook the unopened buds like string beans.

Daylily Flower, Painting
Daylily in Flower

Use the orange (some cultivars are yellow), 6-petaled flowers raw in salads, in hot-and-sour soup, or deep-fried.

Daylily Flower
Daylily Flower

Note the 6 orange petals and protruding stamens. Discard the flower's acrid, green base.

Wilted Daylily Flower and Buds

Reconstitute the previous day's wilted flowers in soups.

Daylily Tubers
Daylily Rhizomes, Tubers, and Roots

Rhizomes, underground stems ending in thickened tubers, allow this plant, which doesn't set seed, spread. Preparing the small, tough-skinned tubers, which are season all year, is too labor-intensive to be worthwhile.

Wall Street Journal Magazine
March 25, 2009
By William R. Snyder
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