Species Name Lilium occidentale
Synonyms Lilium occidentale |
Common Name Western lily |
CPC Number 2548
Natures Serve Global Rank G1G2
Global Rank Review Date 8/12/2015
Federal Listing Status LE
Description Few wildflowers can rival the beauty and grace of the western lily. If you are fortunate enough to spot one growing in a coastal bog, stop and admire the flowersbut please admire from a distance. With a flower as beautiful as the western lily's, it isn't surprising that horticultural collecting and flower picking are among the greatest threats to this species. Accessible populations have been decimated by members of the public who wild-collect plants. Hikers have been known to pick the sole flowering stalk. When this happens, not only has that person destroyed the plant's opportunity to reproduce that year, but he has also weakened the plant by removing its leaves. Each year, the lily stores energy produced by the leaves in the bulb. This energy is needed to grow and produce a flower the following year. Horticultural collecting has been a problem as well.
Land development, agricultural conversion, and soil compaction have been responsible for the destruction of most populations. Historically, 58 populations were known. Now, only 28 sites are known to contain plants with an additional nine presumed, but not confirmed, to be extant. One tragic instance of habitat destruction illustrates the change in public opinion and government policy over the last 30 years. In the 1960s, a public restroom was built directly over a known population at Shore Acres State Park. The population was completely destroyed. Conservation and habitat protection for native plants are now priorities both for local residents and the government. Lilium occidentale is now listed as Endangered by the Federal government, the states of Oregon and California. Populations on federal and state land are now protected from destructive activities.