Daylily - Golden Needles
Flowering Plant [Orange Daylily, Tiger Daylily, Tawny Daylily, Fulvous Daylily, Tiger Lily (not unique), Ditch Lily, Wash-house Lily; Hemerocallis fulva and other species (see below)]

While flowers of some other daylilies are also eaten, the Orange Daylily (photo to left) is the primary culinary species. Flowers, flower buds, dried flower buds and tuberous roots are all eaten. These plants are not true lilies, but members of the large and very diverse Asparagus Order (Asparagales, family Xanthorrhoeaceae).

This is not the lily that provides the famous edible lily bulbs of China. That one is a true lily, the Lanzhou Lily.

The Orange Daylily is native to the Caucasus. east through the Himalayas and on to China, Korea and Japan. It has become naturalized in Europe, much of the United States and parts of Canada, New Zealand, India and other regions, often becoming an aggressive invasive weed that pushes out native plants.   Photo by George Chernilevsky distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

More on the Xanthorrhoeaceae Family.


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Golden Needles   -   [Gum jum choi, huang hua cai (Chinese); Dok mai jeen (Thai); Hemerocallis species]
Dried Lily Buds

These flower buds of the most aromatic of the daylilies (the ones on this page) are used fresh or dried where they are grown, but are available dried in most Asian markets worldwide. They come in two ways, the bright yellow will probably have been treated with sulphur dioxide, the untreated will be a browner yellow (see Health & Nutrition below). If dull dark brown they are too old.

Golden needles are a common ingredient in China, Japan, Korea, Thailand and Vietnam. They are often paired with wood ear mushrooms in soups and stir fries.

Prep:   Pour hot water over them and let them soak for between 1/2 and 1 hour, depending on dryness. Longer soaking will deplete the flavor. When they will be included in soups or similar they are often tied in a knot so they don't get all tangled up, which also helps prevent them from losing flavor to the liquid.

Citron Daylily   -   [Long Yellow Daylily; Hemerocallis citrina]
Flowering Plants

This is one of the aromatic species used for dried buds called "Golden Needles". It is native to East Asia, including China. The yellow flowers, which are also edible fresh, are nearly 6 inches across the points.   Photo by Uleli distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

Lemon Daylily   -   [Lemon Lily, Yellow Daylily; Hemerocallis lilioasphodelus]
Flowering Plants

This is one of the aromatic species used for dried buds called "Golden Needles". It is native to East Asia, including China but is also found in northeastern Italy and Slovenia. The yellow flowers are also edible fresh.   Photo by Anneli Salo distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Unported.

Health & Nutrition

Sulphur Dioxide:   This gas is a powerful preservative, maintaining color, softness and protecting from bacteria, but but around 1% of Americans may have sulfite sensitivity. Among asthmatics this may be as high as 10%. In the United States, any product that has over 10 parts per million of sulfites must declare sulfites on the label.

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©Andrew Grygus - agryg@clovegarden.com - Photos on this page not otherwise credited © cg1 - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page permitted