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Foraging: Daylilies

Jun 1, 2023 | Recipes, Sustainability | 0 comments

By Jade Greene

We all love seeing the happy, orange daylilies blooming in June, but did you know they are an invasive plant? They naturalize an area and make it too hard for native plants to grow. Since they are here and abundant, why not eat some? They are SO GOOD! You can eat both the buds and the flowers (use as stuffed zucchini blossom).

Daylily is a great plant to forage because:

  • It is easy to identify 
  • It is invasive so you will be doing the environment a favor by picking it
  • You can find it almost anywhere
  • It is very flavorful and nutritious!




This is the best feature to ID this plant – orange, showy flowers, usually in clusters.


Smooth stem (not hairy, no thorns), leaves do not grow all the way up and down the stem.

Growth and habitat:

They grow in dense patches. They like to grow in sunny patches so can be found on roadsides and meadows.


Long, linear, strap-like, bright-green, 1-3 ft. (0.3-1 m) long and curve toward the ground.

Where to pick:

Make sure you have permission to forage, many local preserves do not want you to get off the trail and pick plants, so be mindful! A backyard is a great place. It is important that you do not pick from an area that is sprayed with herbicides (eg, not near landscaping), away from major roads, and away from frequent dog walking areas (you don’t want to eat dog pee, yuck!)


How to pick it:

Use a scissors to snip the still closed buds or flowers from the plant.

Recipe: Sautéed Daylily Buds

  • Forage 20-30 (or more) daylily buds
  • Olive oil
  • Chopped garlic or garlic scapes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Rinse the daylilies and pat dry
  2. Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat
  3. Add scapes/garlic and sauté until browned (optional)
  4. Add the buds and stir fry. They will cook quickly in about 2-3 minutes
  5. Sprinkle with salt
  6. Eat as an appetizer or on top of pasta

Photo from Wendy Kiang-Spray


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