Lilium is a genus of about 100 species of bulbous perennials that come in different shapes and colors. The genus belongs to the family Liliaceae and is native to the northern hemisphere.
They are erect perennials with usually narrow leaves and flowers characterized by six petal-like segments (three petals in addition to three sepals) which may form the shape of a trumpet. Most of them are elegant, bright colored and fragrant. Throughout history, Lilium has been a powerful symbol in cultures around the world.
The genus name comes from the Greek word “leiron”, which was assumed to refer to the white Madonna lily (Lilium candidum).
White Lily symbolizes virginity, purity and modesty. In Christianity, it is also a symbol of the Virgin Mary.
Orange Lily symbolizes passion, while yellow Lily symbolizes gaiety.
In western culture, Lily is often associated with funerals and symbolizes innocence of the soul.
Interesting facts about Lilium:
Lilium in Christianity
There is a strong connection between Lily and Christianity.
The Lily is mentioned many times in the Bible. Jesus said: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28; 6:29)
With its three petals, the Lily is often considered a trinity symbol.
Lily crucifix is a symbol of Anglican church in England. In Anglican symbolism, Lily crucifix represents Jesus’ annunciation and crucifixion. The motif of the Lily Crucifixion (Christ crucified on a Lily crucifix or holding a Lily) is found in many Anglican churches and can be seen in the most public parts of church, on stained glass and altar frontals.
Is Lily Poisonous?
Lilies are poisonous to children and pets.
They are highly toxic to cats so be sure to keep them away from Lilies! Ingestion of small amounts can cause severe, irreversible kidney failure and even death in cats.
Benefits and Uses
Lilies have been used as ornamentals, medicine and food plants for thousands of years.
Several members of the genus, such as Lilium longiflorum and Lilium brownii, have been used as a medicine in China and Japan since ancient times. These plants have been used to treat a wide variety of ailments including fever, caugh, edema, tumors, burns, tendonitis, haemoptysis and insomnia.
Lilium tigrinum, commonly known as Tiger Lily, has been used to treat emotional disorders. It is also a good remedy for female reproductive system, especially for females who suffer from uterine troubles.
Certain species of Lilies are grown for their edible bulbs and used for culinary purposes in several parts of the world, especially in China, Korea and Japan. The most important species grown for food are Lilium brownii, Lilium dauricum and Lilium pumilum.
Lily oils can be used as a healing tool, especially for a sensitive skin, but it can also be used for massage, in a bath, as a facial moisturizer, etc.
Most commonly associated with funerals, Lilies are well known as “funeral flowers”, but they are also popular for gifting purposes.
Lilies come in a large variety of colors and the most common are white, yellow, orange and red.
Spring, Autumn, Summer
Some species are small, about 30 cm or 1 ft (such as Dwarf Asiatic Lilies), while others can reach a height of 270 cm or 9 ft (Lilium Superbum).
Most Lilies prefer moist and well drained soil and they will perform best in soil that is slightly acidic.