Plant of the Week: Foxtail Lily

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Author: 
Andi Pettis
Photo by Friends of the High LineThe foxtail lily, Eremurus stenophyllus, is an iconic late-spring bloom at the High Line. Photo by Friends of the High Line

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

EnlargeThe foxtail lily's flower stalk is composed of hundreds of little bell-shaped blooms. Photo by Friends of the High Line

Since the High Line opened in 2009, we’ve watched some horticultural traditions emerge that we look forward to every year. There is Spring Cutback, the first opening of the 23rd Street Lawn, the love/hate reactions to the scent of the prairie dropseed. And, of course, the blooming of the foxtail lilies.

The foxtail lily, Eremurus stenophyllus, is an iconic late-spring bloom at the High Line, and one of the most asked-about plants in the park. Visitors love this striking flower for its showy flower stalks of copper-colored blooms rising upright among the park’s grasses. Look closely, and you'll see that every flower stalk is composed of hundreds of little bell-shaped blooms.

At around three feet tall it may be hard to believe, but Eremurus stenophyllus is a dwarf compared to other foxtail lily species. Some species, like Eremurus elwesii and Eremurus robustus can grow up to ten feet tall with four-foot leaves.

WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
Eremurus stenophyllus can be found on the High Line between West 17th and West 21st Streets. Eremurus himalaicus, a second variety of foxtail lily with white blooms, can be found between West 27th and West 29th Streets.

Download our June bloom list.

Our horticultural team counts on members and friends like you to help keep the High Line beautiful and thriving. Join our community of supporters who play an essential role in the High Line’s most important gardening projects – become a member of Friends of the High Line today!