Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Pine Lily - Lilium catesbyi   Walter
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Section 5 » Family Liliaceae
DistributionThroughout the southern half of the Coastal Plain, including the Sandhills; widely scattered in the northern 40-50% of the province, and no records for most counties there. A few records -- though probably of historical occurrence -- from the eastern edge of the Piedmont.

This is a Coastal Plain lily, found barely into southeastern VA, and then south through FL and west only to eastern LA.
AbundanceInfrequent, but fairly widespread, in the southeastern counties, from the Croatan National Forest to the SC line. Rare to uncommon farther inland into the Sandhills, and farther north to the central Coastal Plain. Very rare north of Beaufort, Pitt, and Johnston counties, and in the far eastern Piedmont. Can be reasonably common in a few well-managed natural areas near the southern coast.
HabitatThis is a characteristic species of pine savannas, but it can also be found in Sandhill seeps and wetter spots in pine flatwoods. It is not often found in man-made habitats such as ditches or scrapes.
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
PhenologyBlooms from mid-June into September, but mostly in July and August; fruits from September to November.
IdentificationThis is a beautiful wildflower of the pine savannas and is absolutely impossible to misidentify or overlook when it flower. It grows to 1-2 feet tall, with a single very large flower at the top, facing skyward. The few leaves are incidental, as the flower is so obvious. The 6 tepals (petals and sepals) are about 3 inches long and bright orange, with some red spots in a yellow patch at the base, with the basal end being narrowed. These tepals gracefully recurve outwardly, such that the flower can be 4-5 inches across. Observers should be able to see this plant at many of the protected savanna natural areas in the lower Coastal Plain. Though it does not grow in large stands, and you are not likely to see dozens in bloom, they are so striking at a distance that even spotting just a few of them will be a highlight of your walk.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species has been split out into subspecies or varieties in the past, though Weakley (2018) does not consider these as valid. Note: the spelling of the species name has been changed to catesbyi, following a paper by Weakley and Poindexter (2020 in press).

Other Common Name(s)Catesby's Lily, Leopard Lily
State RankS3
Global RankG4
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