Lilium (members of which are true lilies) is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers. Lilies are a group of flowering plants which are important in culture and literature in much of the world. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics. Many other plants have "lily" in their common name but are not related to true lilies.
Lilies are tall perennials ranging in height from 2–6 ft (60–180 cm). They form naked or tunicless scaly underground bulbs which are their organs of perennation. In some North American species the base of the bulb develops into rhizomes, on which numerous small bulbs are found. Some species develop stolons. Most bulbs are buried deep in the ground, but a few species form bulbs near the soil surface. Many species form stem-roots. With these, the bulb grows naturally at some depth in the soil, and each year the new stem puts out adventitious roots above the bulb as it emerges from the soil. These roots are in addition to the basal roots that develop at the base of the bulb.
The flowers are large, often fragrant, and come in a wide range of colors including whites, yellows, oranges, pinks, reds and purples. Markings include spots and brush strokes. The plants are late spring- or summer-flowering. Flowers are borne in racemes or umbels at the tip of the stem, with six tepals spreading or reflexed, to give flowers varying from funnel shape to a "Turk's cap". The tepals are free from each other, and bear a nectary at the base of each flower. The ovary is 'superior', borne above the point of attachment of the anthers. The fruit is a three-celled capsule.
Naturally most cool temperate species are deciduous and dormant in winter in their native environment. But a few species which distribute in hot summer and mild winter area (Lilium candidum, Lilium catesbaei, Lilium longiflorum) lose leaves and remain relatively short dormant in Summer or Autumn, sprout from Autumn to winter, forming dwarf stem bearing a basal rosette of leaves until, after they have received sufficient chilling, the stem begins to elongate in warming weather.
Taxonomical division in sections follows the classical division of Comber, species acceptance follows the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, the taxonomy of section Pseudolirium is from the Flora of North America, the taxonomy of Section Liriotypus is given in consideration of Resetnik et al. 2007, the taxonomy of Chinese species (various sections) follows the Flora of China and the taxonomy of Section Sinomartagon follows Nishikawa et al. as does the taxonomy of Section Archelirion.
The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, as of January 2014[update], considers Nomocharis a separate genus in its own right, however some authorities consider Nomocharis to be embedded within Lilium, rather than treat it as a separate genus.
There are seven sections:
|Picture||Section||Sub Section||Botanical name||common name|
|Martagon||Lilium martagon||Martagon or Turk's cap lily|
|Pseudolirium||2a||Lilium bolanderi||Bolander's Lily|
|Pseudolirium||2a||Lilium washingtonianum||Washington Lily, Shasta Lily, or Mt. Hood Lily|
|Pseudolirium||2b||Lilium pardalinum||Panther or Leopard lily|
|Pseudolirium||2b||Lilium parvum||Sierra tiger lily or Alpine lily|
|Pseudolirium||2c||Lilium canadense||Canada Lily or Meadow Lily|
|Pseudolirium||2c||Lilium michiganense||Michigan Lily|
|Pseudolirium||2c||Lilium michauxii||Carolina Lily|
|Pseudolirium||2c||Lilium superbum||Swamp lily or American tiger lily|
|Pseudolirium||2c||Lilium pyrophilum||Sandhills Lily|
|Pseudolirium||2d||Lilium philadelphicum||Wood lily, Philadelphia lily or prairie lily|
|Liriotypus||3a||Lilium candidum||Madonna lily|
|Liriotypus||3b||Lilium bosniacum (Lilium carniolicum var. bosniacum)|
|Liriotypus||3b||Lilium pomponium||Turban lily|
|Liriotypus||3c||Lilium szovitsianum||Polish Lily|
|Liriotypus||3d||Lilium bulbiferum||Orange Lily or Fire Lily|
|Archelirion||4a||Lilium speciosum||Japanese lily|
|Archelirion||4b||Lilium auratum||Golden rayed lily of Japan, or Goldband lily|
|Sinomartagon||5a||Lilium henryi||Tiger Lily or Henry's lily|
|Sinomartagon||5a||Lilium lancifolium||Tiger Lily (often known as L. tigrinum)|
|Sinomartagon||5b||Lilium concolor||Morning Star Lily|
|Sinomartagon||5b||Lilium pumilum||Coral Lily, Low Lily, or Siberian Lily|
|Sinomartagon||5c||Lilium mackliniae||Siroi Lily|
|Leucolirion||6b||Lilium longiflorum||Easter Lily|
|Leucolirion||6b||Lilium philippinense||Benguet lily|
The botanic name Lilium is the Latin form and is a Linnaean name. The Latin name is derived from the Greek λείριον, leírion, generally assumed to refer to true, white lilies as exemplified by the Madonna lily. The word was borrowed from Coptic (dial. Fayyumic) hleri, from standard hreri, from Demotic hrry, from Egyptian hrṛt "flower". Meillet maintains that both the Egyptian and the Greek word are possible loans from an extinct, substratum language of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Greeks also used the word κρῖνον, krīnon, albeit for non-white lilies.
The term "lily" has in the past been applied to numerous flowering plants, often with only superficial resemblance to the true lily, including water lily, fire lily, lily of the Nile, calla lily, trout lily, kaffir lily, cobra lily, lily of the valley, daylily, ginger lily, Amazon lily, leek lily, Peruvian lily, and others. All English translations of the Bible render the Hebrew shūshan, shōshan, shōshannā as "lily", but the "lily among the thorns" of Song of Solomon, for instance, may be the honeysuckle.
For a list of other species described as lilies, see Lily (disambiguation).
The range of lilies in the Old World extends across much of Europe, across most of Asia to Japan, south to India, and east to Indochina and the Philippines. In the New World they extend from southern Canada through much of the United States. They are commonly adapted to either woodland habitats, often montane, or sometimes to grassland habitats. A few can survive in marshland and epiphytes are known in tropical southeast Asia. In general they prefer moderately acidic or lime-free soils.
Many species are widely grown in the garden in temperate and sub-tropical regions. They may also be grown as potted plants. Numerous ornamental hybrids have been developed. They can be used in herbaceous borders, woodland and shrub plantings, and as patio plants. Some lilies, especially Lilium longiflorum, form important cut flower crops. These may be forced for particular markets; for instance, Lilium longiflorum for the Easter trade, when it may be called the Easter lily.
Lilies are usually planted as bulbs in the dormant season. They are best planted in a south-facing (northern hemisphere), slightly sloping aspect, in sun or part shade, at a depth 2½ times the height of the bulb (except Lilium candidum which should be planted at the surface). Most prefer a porous, loamy soil, and good drainage is essential. Most species bloom in July or August (northern hemisphere). The flowering periods of certain lily species begin in late spring, while others bloom in late summer or early autumn. They have contractile roots which pull the plant down to the correct depth, therefore it is better to plant them too shallowly than too deep. A soil pH of around 6.5 is generally safe. The soil should be well-drained, and plants must be kept watered during the growing season. Some plants have strong wiry stems, but those with heavy flower heads may need staking.
Numerous forms, mostly hybrids, are grown for the garden. They vary according to the species and interspecific hybrids that they derived from, and are classified in the following broad groups:
The flowers can be classified by flower aspect and form:
Many newer commercial varieties are developed by using new technologies such as ovary culture and embryo rescue.
Aphids may infest plants. Leatherjackets feed on the roots. Larvae of the Scarlet lily beetle can cause serious damage to the stems and leaves. The scarlet beetle lays its eggs and completes its life cycle only on true lilies (Lilium) and fritillaries (Fritillaria). Oriental, rubrum, tiger and trumpet lilies as well as Oriental trumpets (orienpets) and Turk's cap lilies and native North American Lilium species are all vulnerable, but the beetle prefers some types over others. The beetle could also be having an effect on native Canadian species and some rare and endangered species found in northeastern North America. Daylilies (Hemerocallis, not true lilies) are excluded from this category. Plants can suffer from damage caused by mice, deer and squirrels. Slugs, snails and millipedes attack seedlings, leaves and flowers. Brown spots on damp leaves may signal botrytis (also known as lily disease). Various fungal and viral diseases can cause mottling of leaves and stunting of growth.
Lilies can be propagated in several ways;
According to a study done by Anna Pobudkiewicz and Jadwiga the use of flurprimidol foliar spray helps aid in the limitation of stem elongation in oriental lilies. (1)
Some Lilium species are toxic to cats. This is known to be so especially for Lilium longiflorum though other Lilium and the unrelated Hemerocallis can also cause the same symptoms. The true mechanism of toxicity is undetermined, but it involves damage to the renal tubular epithelium (composing the substance of the kidney and secreting, collecting, and conducting urine), which can cause acute renal failure. Veterinary help should be sought, as a matter of urgency, for any cat that is suspected of eating any part of a lily – including licking pollen that may have brushed onto its coat.
Lilium bulbs are starchy and edible as root vegetables, although bulbs of some species may be very bitter. The non-bitter bulbs of Lilium lancifolium, Lilium pumilum, and especially Lilium brownii (Chinese: 百合; pinyin: bǎihé) and Lilium davidii var. unicolor are grown on a large scale in China as a luxury or health food, and are most often sold in dry form for herb, the fresh form often appears with other vegetables. The dried bulbs are commonly used in the south to flavor soup. Lily flowers are also said to be efficacious in pulmonary affections, and to have tonic properties. Lily flowers and bulbs are eaten especially in the summer, for their perceived ability to reduce internal heat. They may be reconstituted and stir-fried, grated and used to thicken soup, or processed to extract starch. Their texture and taste draw comparisons with the potato, although the individual bulb scales are much smaller. There are also species which are meant to be suitable for culinary and/or herb uses. There are five traditional lily species whose bulbs are certified and classified as "vegetable and non-staple foodstuffs" on the National geographical indication product list of China.
The flower buds and roots of Lilium canadense are traditionally gathered and eaten by North American indigenous peoples. Coast Salish, Nuu-chah-nulth and most western Washington peoples steam, boil or pit-cook the bulbs of Lilium columbianum. Bitter or peppery-tasting, they were mostly used as a flavoring, often in soup with meat or fish.
Lilies are the flowers most commonly used at funerals, where they symbolically signify that the soul of the deceased has been restored to the state of innocence.
Lilium formosanum, or Taiwanese lily, is called "the flower of broken bowl" (打碗花) by the elderly members of the Hakka ethnic group. They believe that because this lily grows near bodies of clean water, harming the lily may damage the environment, just like breaking the bowls that people rely on. An alternative explanation is that parents convince children into not taking the lily by convincing the children that their dinner bowls may break if they destroy this flower.
Lilium mackliniae is the state flower of Manipur. Lilium michauxii, the Carolina lily, is the official state flower of North Carolina. Idyllwild, California, hosts the Lemon Lily Festival, which celebrates Lilium parryi. Lilium philadelphicum is the floral emblem of Saskatchewan province in Canada, and is on the flag of Saskatchewan.
Lilium regale : bud formation
Orange lily showing stamens with pollen-covered anthers, Ontario, Canada
Pollen of Lilium auratum (oriental lily); back-scattered electron microscope image
Microscopic view of lily pollen 100X
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