Plant Common Name
Diverse, and full of wonderful ornamentals, the genus Lilium is comprised of over 100 species and thousands of cultivars, most are herbaceous. These exist in north temperate regions around the globe and are commonly found in meadows, woodlands or mountainous areas.
All lilies are perennial and born from scaled bulbs that sometimes spread via underground stems. They all have large, showy flowers comprised of six petals/tepals, which are usually in shades of yellow, red, orange, white, pink or purple. These often have prominent stigmas and colorful anthers rich with pollen. Bloom time is variable and depends on the given plant.
In general, lilies are easy to grow. They prefer full sun to shade, depending in the species/cultivar, and appreciate fertile to average soil with good drainage. Hardiness is cultivar/species dependent, but most lilies require a chilling period to bloom.
Lilies fall under nine separate classes that distinguish plants by floral form and parentage. These classes are:
(I) Asiatic Hybrids; early-flowering Asiatic Hybrids with upright, outward facing single or umbelled flowers (Parentage: Lilium lancifolium, L. cernuum, L. davidii, L. leichtlinii, L. x maculatum, L. x hollandicum, L. amabile, L. pumilum, L. concolor, and/or L. bulbiferum)
(II) Martagon Hybrids; hybrids with pendant flowers (Parentage: one parent having been a form of Lilium martagon or L. hansonii)
(III) Candidum Hybrids; hybrids of all European species except Lilium martagon (Parentage: Lilium candidum, L. chalcedonicum and other related European species)
(IV) American Hybrids; hybrids of American Lilium species
(V) Longiflorum Hybrids; hybrids derived from Lilium longiflorum and L. formosanum
(VI) Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids; hybrid trumpet lilies and Aurelian hybrid lilies from Asiatic species including Lilium henryi but excluding L. auratum, L. japonicum, L. rubellum and L. speciosum
(VII) Oriental Hybrids; hybrids of the Far Eastern species Lilium auratum, L. japonicum, L. rubellum and L. speciosum
(VIII) All Lilium hybrids that fall outside all other categories
(IX) All putative wild forms
a/ Upward-facing flowers
b/ Outward-facing flowers
c/ Downward-facing flowers
/a Trumpet-shaped flowers
/b Bowl-shaped flowers
/c Recurved flowers