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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 302. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/22/2009)


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12. Lilium L. (lily)

Plants perennial, with stout bulbs covered with thick scales, sometimes also with stolons, lacking the odor of onion or garlic. Aerial stems frequently with roots above the bulbs, unbranched, erect. Leaves numerous, alternate and/or in several whorls, linear to lanceolate or narrowly elliptic, tapered at both ends or less commonly some of the leaf bases clasping the stems. Inflorescences at the tips of the aerial stems, whorls of 2–5 flowers (–15 flowers elsewhere) or racemes, often reduced to a single flower. Flowers erect or nodding, with stalks 3–20 cm long, not replaced by bulblets. Perianth 50–100 mm long, free, the sepals and petals orange to reddish orange, with purple or brownish purple spots. Stamens 6, free, the long filaments usually arched away from the style. Style 1, the stigma shallowly to deeply 3-lobed. Ovary superior, with 3 locules, each with numerous ovules. Fruits barrel-shaped to broadly ellipsoid, slightly 3-angled capsules. About 100 species, North America, Europe, Asia, south to the Philippines.

Numerous species of lilies are cultivated as ornamentals and a variety of cultivars exist for some of the species treated below. Many species have also been cultivated for their edible bulbs.


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1 Flowers erect, the stalks not bent abruptly near the tips 3 Lilium philadelphicum
+ Flowers nodding, the stalks bent abruptly near the tips (2)
2 (1) Leaves all alternate, the uppermost leaves with clasping bases and bulblets in the axils 1 Lilium lancifolium
+ Leaves mostly whorled, the bases tapered, lacking bulblets (3)
3 (2) Leaves scabrous with minute, toothlike processes along the margins and the veins of the undersurface; stamens with the anthers 5–15(–17) mm long 2 Lilium michiganense
+ Leaves smooth, lacking toothlike processes along the margins and veins, at most slightly and minutely papillose along the margins; stamens with the anthers 15–25 mm long 4 Lilium superbum
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