Wood Lily Partnership
Most of the known populations have significantly declined or disappeared altogether in recent years. The wood lily is listed as a “threatened” species in Kentucky and Ohio, and “endangered” in Tennessee.
Last June, Kentucky Heartwood began monitoring wood lily populations in Laurel, McCreary, and Jackson Counties. The sobering extent of the lily’s loss relative to recent historic records quickly became evident, as did the immediacy of the issue. To help recover this species in Kentucky, we have joined with the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (KSNPC) and Kentucky Native Plant Society to better monitor, protect, and propagate remaining wood lily populations for establishment at new sites.
Working with county road crews to change mowing schedules has already been successful at one Jackson County site, where the population appears to have grown notably over the past two years. We have also put deer cages around plants in two of the larger populations in Laurel County to deter browsing (deer love to eat the seed pods). In the fall we will collect seed for propagation, with the goal of reintroducing wood lilies, as well as other “barrens” companion species, into appropriate, nearby sites managed by the KSNPC and Daniel Boone National Forest.