Plant of the Week: Foxtail lilies

Two varieties of foxtail lilies are currently blooming at the High Line. Above Eremurus stenophyllus adds bright yellow color to the landscape on the High Line near West 18th Street. Photo by Patrick Cullina.

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 — 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 with you one of our gardeners’ current favorites.

Foxtail lilies are iconic blooms that are a visitor favorite this time of year.


At the High Line, we currently have two varieties in bloom. Both varieties feature tall foxtail-shaped compound conical flowers that give the genus its name. The identifiable difference between the two is in color: Eremurus stenophyllus has bright copper-colored flowers while Eremurus himalaicus has pastel yellow blooms. While both varieties at the High Line are a modest height, some varieties of foxtail lilies can grow up to 10 feet tall.

Foxtail lilies were originally native to western and central Asia, with Eremurus himalaicus touting its origin – the Himalayas – in its scientific name. This genus contains around 40 perennials who all share common characteristics including their unique blooms and “tentacled” root systems that can resemble a starfish or an octopus.

Eremurus stenophyllus can be found on the High Line between West 17th and West 21st Streets and Eremurus himalaicus can be found between West 27th and West 29th Streets.

Download our new June bloom guide.

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