The Lily Family: Genus Lilium

The following information has been contributed for your enjoyment.

The genus Lilium contains some of the most beautiful flowers found in nature. The bulbs of this genus are characterized by their open construction. The individual bulb scales are usually relatively widely spaced and are not enclosed by a tunic. The bulb puts up a single stem which bears the leaves spaced along its entire length. The loose cluster of buds is carried at the top of this stem.

The familiar "Easter Lily" is a member of this genus, as is the well-known "Madonna Lily". The hardy and disease-tolerant "Tiger Lily" of gardens bears orange flowers with large purple to black spots -- it looks more like a leopard than like a tiger -- but another very characteristic feature is the small black bulbil borne at the base of most of the leaves. The plant can be propagated readily by collecting and planting these bulbils. The Tiger Lily's main fault is that it can carry plant viruses that will destroy other varieties of lilies; it is itself not affected by these viruses.

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James E. Shields,

Last revised: 31 January 2002.

© Copyright 2000, 2002 by James E. Shields. All rights reserved.