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Plant Profile

Lemon Lily (Lilium parryi)

Photo Credit: Cheryl Birker
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Liliaceae
  • State: AZ, CA
  • Nature Serve ID: 133856
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 04/04/1991

The lemon lily is a bulbous herbaceous perennial that produces showy, fragrant yellow flowers during the months of July to August. These flower are large, with red spots in their corolla throats. In California, populations numbering in the thousands are found in high-elevation meadows and smaller populations occur in canyon with perennial water. Yet in Arizona, small populations, most numbering less than 100, are found along wet canyon bottoms near perennial water.

Where is Lemon Lily (Lilium parryi) located in the wild?


Occurs along streamsides in canyons and wet meadows at 1700m - 3000 m in elevation. Soil is high in organic material and remains saturated throughout most of the year. (Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999)


Known from San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains of southern California and southeast Arizona and Sonora Mexico.

States & Provinces:

Lemon Lily can be found in Arizona, California

Which CPC Partners conserve Lemon Lily (Lilium parryi)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Cheryl Birker
  • 11/19/2021
  • Seed Collection

The California Botanic Garden made a small seed collection of the population of Lilium parryi (Lemon lily) located at Vivian Creek in the San Bernardino Mountains of San Bernardino County, California on September 23, 2021. This is a recollection of the 1990 seed collection made by Walter Wisura (CalBG Accession #16392), and a seed sample was sent to the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation for use in the CPC/IMLS RNA Integrity Study. Although many plants were found in this population in the past, only about 30 individuals were observed in 2021, a majority of which were vegetative. Upon returning to the site for the seed collection, herbivory was observed on the few reproductive individuals, and only a single plant had gone to seed.

Center for Plant Conservation
  • 08/18/2021
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

In 2021, CPC contracted California Botanic Garden to recollect seed from a population currently held in long term orthodox seed storage as part of an IMLS-funded seed longevity experiment. The National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation will evaluate how germination tested viability and RNA Integrity of seed lots decline over time in storage.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Lilium parryi occurs in southern Arizona and southern California. It is rare in Arizona, where it is extant in 2 canyons in the Huachuca Mountains. Most occurrences in Los Angeles County, California are very small and it was nearly extirpated from San Diego County. Major threats include horticultural collecting, water diversion and grazing. Other threats are air pollution, timber cutting and pesticide effects on pollinators.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Part of one population occurs on Nature Conservancy land, and so is protected and managed for, and the plants there are candidates of source seeds for restoration work.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Suggested research studies include pollination biology studies and assisted pollination and seed dispersal work Suggested management projects include moving trails away from populations and obtaining water rights on land where the species occurs to ensure that hydrology is not altered.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Be sure that seeds are collected and banked for all known populations, especially the genetically unique Turkey Creek population, to ensure proper genetic variation for future reintroduction work.

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Threats include: Small population size Flooding Collecting Mineral exploration Hiking impacts Illegal collection (Arizona Fish and Game Department 1999)

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

7 populations, 6 of which are stable in Ramsey Canyon

Joyce Maschinski, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010
  • Genetic Research

Plants found in Turkey Creek in the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona are genetically unique suggesting that they have been isolated for a long time. The majority of the other Arizona populations had little genetic variability (Friar et al. 1996).


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Taxon Lilium parryi
Authority S. Wats.
Family Liliaceae
CPC Number 2549
ITIS 42744
Duration Perennial
Common Names lemon lily | Parry's lily | Parry lily
Associated Scientific Names Lilium parryi | Lilium parryi var. kessleri
Distribution Known from San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains of southern California and southeast Arizona and Sonora Mexico.
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S2
California S3
Ecological Relationships


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