Ordinarily a rare sight on the Island, wood lilies are blooming in profusion this year in many places, including in the fields at Waskosim’s Rock Reservation, a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank property.
The showy red-orange wood lily occurs in dry woods throughout southern New England; its entire range runs from southern Ontario to North Carolina and Kentucky. The bulbs were once gathered by native Americans for food.
But like the beautiful orange butterfly weed which is also especially abundant this year, perhaps encouraged by a cool, rainy spring, wood lilies should not be picked but rather left alone and enjoyed in their natural setting.
They are one of the Vineyard’s many hidden treasures.