Written by: Peg Zimprich
Photo by: Lisa Bird
Appearance: Sand Lily is a striking native plant with a cluster of white six-pointed star-shaped flowers tucked into the middle of a mass of grayish-green grass like leaves. This perennial plant is a member of the lily family and is also known as the common star lily. This surprisingly common plant only reaches a height of 8” and may be easily overlooked unless in bloom. This plant blooms in early spring, April at lower elevations and May at higher elevations. Sand Lilies have a unique seed dispersal habit. Each spring, new floral buds push the ripened seeds from the prior year up and out of the floral tube.
Habitat: Found in sunny grassland areas ranging from the plains into the foothills at elevations between 3,500 and 8,000 feet. It requires full sun and will not tolerate shade. Native plants do not require amended soil and are drought tolerant once established.
Landscape Suitability: Sand Lily is a great perennial plant choice for cultivated beds. It needs full sun, making it a perfect choice for those hot, dry areas where few ornamental plants will grow. A grouping can lend early spring color and interest between early blooming bulbs and later blooming ornamentals. Look for this remarkable plant in local nurseries; remember never to “wild collect.”
Colorado Plant Database http://www.co.jefferson.co.us/coopext/intro.jsp
USDA Plant Database http://plants.usda.gov/
Eastern Colorado Wildflowers http://www.easterncoloradowildflowers.com/index.htm