Flower Bio: Lilies
Botanical Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Related To: tulip, fritillary, clintonia, toad lily
Born In: The 100 or so species of true lilies (those in the Lilium genus) are distributed throughout the Northern Hemisphere, almost entirely in temperate latitudes.
Bred By: Jan de Graaff is known for breeding the first lilies that do not droop downward, the genes on which our modern upward-facing lily varieties rest. Leslie Woodriff is an American horticulturalist known for developing the Stargazer strain of lilies.
All-Star Varieties: ‘Stargazer’ sets the standard for oriental lilies with its stunning pink flowers edged in white and beautiful fragrance. Easter lilies are symbolic of the resurrection of Christ and are enjoyed for their fragrant, white flowers. Another standout group is Asiatic lilies, which are available in many colors and among the easiest lilies to grow.
Left: ‘Stargazer’ Lily, Upper Right: Easter Lily, Lower Right: Asiatic Lily
Fun Fact: In North America we think of lilies as a flower to observe, but in many parts of Asia lily bulbs and the flowers themselves are commonly consumed for food. The bulbs are typically separated into sections (they come with layers like an onion) and used in stir-fries, to which they impart a light, nutty flavor similar to water chestnuts. Note, however, that not all lilies are edible, and some closely related species are extremely toxic.
Find more information about lilies and how to care for them in our Plant Library.