This summer, as always, I was glad to spend time in the mountains...and one of my favorite things is to see the wild lilies. There is a huge fine or even arrest for picking wild flowers in the National Parks but one summer I saw the cutest sight - it was Mother's Day and a very young fellow and his father picked a handful of lilies for a gift. I hope that they weren't caught in the act, or that if they were that the Parks employees were forgiving. I'm sure they were unaware of the trouble they were causing.
The western wood lily (lilium philadelphicum) grows in abundance in the Rocky Mountains. It is believed that the name is derived from the Greek root 'philos' for love and 'delphicus' for wood...wood lover. The bulb which it grows from relies on the flower for nutrients and will die if the flower is picked. The Blackfoot used crushed flowers to treat spider bites and several tribes ate the bulbs, though they are bitter.
Lilies, along with tulips, are my favorite flowers...I think it's the beautiful simplicity of the shapes. One summer, when we rented a farmhouse in Saskatchewan I painted a series of lilies. It was such a fun and beautiful series of paintings on paper which also incorporated texture and copper leaf. The lily is also the symbol of Saskatchewan.