Turk’s Cap Lily

Turk's Cap Lily final


Turk’s Cap Lily is a wonderful plant that is a great find when you stumble upon it in the field.  I usually see it growing at the edge of savanna and wet prairie.  I seldom see it bloom twice in the same spot, which adds to the delight in finding it.

The traditional way to portray flowers in botanical painting is to set them against a neutral white or grey background but this is way too restrained for me.  I wanted to suggest the time of year and a bit of the habitat where I find the plant yet still make sure the lily was the star of the show.

23 thoughts on “Turk’s Cap Lily”

  1. Oo, I love those flowers. I used to see them sometimes when hiking in the mountains in British Columbia. They always surprise and enchant me; they seem too exotic to exist this far north. And their little size is oh so charming. You did a lovely job of capturing their magical beauty :-). The lavender reminds me that there are fairies (or bees) nearby.

  2. Beautiful painting, Melissa. I love the placement of the flowers and buds and the lavender in the background adds a lovely depth. I am a big fan of these lilies, too. We are fortunate to have many of them down in the meadow by the river. I did a post last July about them and followed up with their seeds in Oct. They are such a graceful flower.

  3. As far as I know, I’ve never seen one of these in the wild. It’s not listed for Iowa, or Texas. Your painting makes me wish we did have them. I very much like the touches of lavender in the background; I think they help to highlight the lily without overwhelming it.

    We do have a Turk’s cap, but it’s quite a different plant. When it comes to lilies, we make do with day lilies, spider lilies, water lilies. There are others around, but I don’t know their names and suspect they may not be natives.

    1. I can see why your Mavaviscus arboreus is also called Turk’s Cap~ the flowers do look like little turbans, don’t they?
      Thank you for your kind comment, Linda. I really wanted to put lavender in there, but was worried it would be too much.

  4. We have these here, but i have yet to find one in the wild.

    I like the background you have created for your painting of this lovely lily, Melissa. We seldom see flowers in a neutral setting, so having all the surrounding plant life makes this more real yet still interpretive. I do try to isolate flowers when I photograph them and accomplishing that is not easy with all that usually surrounds the plants.

  5. Your statement that a neutral white or grey background is way too restrained for you has me imagining people trying to hold you down as you fight to rush to your easel to work on a painting as (softly) colorful as this one. Those areas of purple and blue-indigo do go a long way in bringing out the orange of the Turk’s cap lily. Speaking of which, is the plant Lilium michiganense?

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