Things I’d Want to Have in a Zombie Apocalypse: Daylilies

Pretty, fresh, and edible.

…No, that’s not the zombies’ opinion of college co-eds. We’re talking about daylilies.

Bear in mind that if our zombies are intelligent enough to have opinions on the varying degrees of edibility of their prey, we may not be dealing with zombies at all, but instead some kind of spectacularly ugly ghouls. In which case we should be looking up traditional Arabian folklore, modern Japanese manga, or old Viking sagas. We might also be praying to Thor for cloudy with a chance of berserkers.

Back to daylilies. They come in a variety of colors, sizes, heights, and ploidy. For non-genetics types, “ploid” refers to how many sets of chromosomes a critter has. Daylilies are generally either diploid – one set of paired chromosomes, like we have – or tetraploid, with two sets. This doesn’t affect edibility, and you probably won’t have to worry about it unless you’re breeding them.

Daylilies are pretty. They pretty much take care of themselves in the garden as long as things don’t become a parched desert, which means when the zpoc hits we can raid less lucky souls’ gardens for them. And they have a variety of edible parts: shoots, flowers, and tubers.

Specifically note, tubers. Not the fine root hairs growing from the tubers. The roots themselves can spark allergic reactions. Scrape them off. Every last one. Then wash the tubers, preferably a couple of times.

Daylily buds and shoots are less problematic; fry and go. Daylily buds are a traditional ingredient in hot and sour soup, so if we have some survivors fond of Oriental cooking who need bribing – er, gentle persuasion – it’s something to keep in mind.

But mostly I think I’d want daylilies for the pretty. And the passive threat detection. If there are stomped trails through our daylilies in the first light of morning, either the zombies have shambled through or there are strangers moving under the cover of darkness. In either case, not good. Investigate. Carefully.

…Preferably with a shovel. In case, you know, you need to dig something up. Or say you did….


12 thoughts on “Things I’d Want to Have in a Zombie Apocalypse: Daylilies

  1. Another very edible plant – cattails. shoots, roots most of it is edible, of course it does require a pool of water but it could also be helpful for some water purification too.


    1. Yeah, but you may want to be careful on those. They’re also used in bioremediation – specifically because they can pick heavy metals out of the water column. (One scheme is to grow cattails, harvest, burn, and get the metals out of the ashes.) Meaning if your local area has a few soil or water problems, you may be getting them concentrated!


  2. Nettles- they’re a great source of vitamins, and they’re very deer-resistant due to all the little stingers they have (they disappear after they’re cooked) They also are very hardy-I’ve got a patch growning wild near the house and they’ve done just fine for years.
    Also, dandelions. You can eat the leaves in a salad and either the leaves or the roots (I think, it’s been a while since I’ve pulled out my herbal books) can be used as a natural laxative which would be important if you’re stuck eating canned or dried everything for a long time…


    1. Nettles are good, though preferably in small doses; someone sensitive to oxalic acid or prone to gout should go easy on them. 🙂 Dandelions are all kinds of edible – famously, they can be used to make dandelion wine. Although I think I’d be more likely to used the dried roots as a coffee substitute. 😉


  3. It’s interesting to me that, even though I’ve lived in a rainy area instead of drought-heavy Southern California for over ten years, my first response to most of this plan was, “Tch! But that would require an EXCESS OF WATER.” Thirsty plants? That need thorough washing? SOUP? It’s like being that one kid from Tatooine with overly hydration-based survival instincts. Water scarcity being part of hypothetical crises is secured in my hindbrain somewhere.


    1. Thus proving that appropriate survival techniques depend on where you are and what you have to work with. 😉

      Though in a lot of places water isn’t the problem, lack of purified water is.

      I have to think that deserts would be an especially sucky place to live through a zpoc, though. Generally speaking zombies don’t need water. Gives them the major advantage!


  4. Depends on what kind of desert it is. High plains like where I am isn’t the worst sort of place to wait out something like that. Though you have to have a lot of respect for venomous creatures.


  5. I’ve eyed the daylilies that are planted in landscaping, wondering if I ever have the guts to try and pick some to eat. I’d need someone to show me the way first, I think.
    Another good plant: roses. I’m not sure what rose would be best but one that produces large and/or many rosehips. Vitamin C, yay! Just have to learn how to properly clean out the “hair” before eating. Those “hairs” are used as an itching powder. I can’t imagine how they would feel going down, if swallowed.


    1. Apparently one of the best ways to try daylilies is cut an unopened flower bud and boil or fry it like green beans.

      Rosa rugosa is one of the best for rose hips; unfortunately it’s also considered an invasive or nuisance plant in some states. Consult your local gardeners and find out! 🙂


      1. Now I’m *really* curious. Almost curious enough to try.

        Quick research tells me that the Rosa rugosa is naturalized to the East Coast of the US (which is where I live now). I recall the wild prairie rose of my birth place of ND could produce up to grape sized rosehips. But not often. XD


  6. Rosa rugosa produces lots and lots of rose hips
    (I had to look up the name in New England we call it the beach rose)
    It is very beautiful, I prefer it to the rose you normally see
    but it also has a truly impressive number of thorns
    as an added bonus if you are by the sea,
    it is extremely salt tolerant and doesn’t need any care to grow
    It produces rose hips for all of its many flowers every fall
    and they all are around small grape size too


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