Lilies Flower (Meaning, Varieties & Facts)

Lily is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers

Updated: June 16, 2022

Lily is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs, all with large prominent flowers. Lilies are a group of flowering plants which comes in different shapes, sizes and colors. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere, though their range extends into the northern subtropics. Lilies are really excellent plants for beds and borders. Lilies are suitable for use in a shrub border, as accent plants, a formal or naturalized pool planting. Even some of the small species would fit perfectly in an alpine rock garden.

Facts About Lilies Flower

  • Lilies are tall perennials ranging in height from 2 to 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.
  • Seeds ripen in late summer. They exhibit varying and sometimes complex germination patterns, many adapted to cool temperate climates.
  • 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 loke Lilium candidum, Lilium catesbaei, Lilium longiflorum lose leaves.
  • They 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.
  • The botanic name Lilium is the Latin form and is a Linnaean name which is derived from the Greek.
  • 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.
  • Lilies portray love, ardor, and affection for your loved ones in the Victorian language of flowers.
  • The orange lilies stand for happiness, love, and warmth.
  • 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" 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.
  • Lilium longiflorum, the Easter lily, is a symbol of Easter.
  • Lilium bulbiferum is recognised as a symbol of the Orange Order in Northern Ireland.
  • 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.

Varieties Of Lilies Flower

Varieties of Lilies classified on the basis of species are listed below with their common uses:

  • Lilium auratum commonly known as Japanese golden rayed lily are Lilies from Japan. These are white bowl-shaped flowers with a golden ray down the center of petals and crimson spots. The flowers are fragrant and make a great cut flower.
  • Lilium bulbiferum commonly known as Orange lily are lilies that make very fair eating and can be used as a substitute to potato. The bulbs are sweet and mealy and edible.
  • Lilium canadense commonly known as Canada lily are used as Scent.
  • Lilium candidum are commonly known as Madonna lily. The bulb is employed for medicinal purposes, having highly demulcent and also astringent properties.
  • Lilium henryi commonly known as Henry's lily relieves congestion and the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
  • Lilium japonicum commonly known as Krameri are nourishing and useful in diseases of the chest.
  • Lilium tigrinum commonly known as Tiger lily is a lily from China with light glowing orange colored flowers, purplish black spots and protruding stamens. They are late flowering, black stem bulbils with stem rooting.
  • Lilium lancifolium commonly known as Tiger lily produce edible bulbs
  • Lilium longiflorum commonly known as Easter lily are trumpet shaped, white and waxy flowers that flower early and have stem rooting. They are mostly used in flower beds.
  • Lilium martagon is commonly known as Martagon lily or Turkscap lily. The bulb has diuretic, emmenagogue, emollient and expectorant properties. They are used to relieve heart diseases, pain in the cardiac region and angina pectoris.
  • Lilium pardalinum is commonly known as Panther lily. The flowers are 1.5 meters tall, red in color with a yellow center and maroon spots on it. The bulbs are edible.
  • Lilium regale is commonly known as Regal lily. Plant in groups integrated in a perennial border.
  • Lilium speciosum is commonly known as Japanese lily. The flowers diffuse a powerful sweet honey perfume.

Uses Of Lilies Flower

  • Lilies are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Dun-bar.
  • 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 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.
  • Lily is also common in Japanese cuisine, especially as an ingredient of chawan-mushi.
  • 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 in taste, they were mostly used as a flavoring, often in soup with meat or fish.
  • The lilium species which are officially listed as herbs are Lilium lancifolium Thunberg; Lilium brownii var. viridulun Baker.

Warning

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. It can damage the renal tubular epithelium which can cause acute renal failure.


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