Tracing the history of the daylily will lead you to ancient Asia. But the botanical name of the bloomer, Hemerocallis, is based on the Greek words for "beauty" and "day" because each daylily flower only opens for one day, according to the American Hemerocallis Society.
A hardy plant, the daylily has long been found growing wild in forests, swamps, meadows and mountains throughout China, Mongolia, Northern India, Japan and Korea. It was in early China that daylilies were taken from the wild and planted in gardens for use in the home.
Daylily buds were thought to be nutritious and the roots were used for medicinal purposes as painkillers and diuretics by the early Chinese, according to the Australian Daylily Society. The daylily plant was also regarded as being uplifting to the spirit.
References to daylilies first appeared in Europe and the Mediterranean in the 1500s. Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus gave the daylily its generic name in 1753 in his Species Plantarum.
Daylilies made their way to the United States in the early 1900s. In the 1920s, Dr. A.B. Stout, a botanist from Wisconsin, began extensive hybrid programs and subsequently was dubbed "The Father of Modern Daylilies."
In 1946, the American Hemerocallis Society was founded. In 1955, the organization became the official registry for all types of daylilies.