Superb Lily

Unplanted garden: turk's cap lily

It is known in Latin as Lilium superbum. The wildflower merits the name, though this single specimen and quick grab shot do not.

But here is another instance in which, had the dog not momentarily disappeared into the deep forest, we would not have had a reason to venture to its edge and find a single surviving plant of the dozens growing there before the deer found them.

I was hiking with a wildlife professional once who measured deer populations indirectly by the number of surviving Turk’s Cap lilies. They must be a delicacy for those herbivores. I appreciate them leaving me a sample to remember how magnificent an entire meadow of them would have been.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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