What Are the Different Types of Lilies?


Quick Answer

There are hundreds of lily variations, but domesticated lilies can be classified into Asiatic, martagon, candidium, American, longiflorum, trumpet or aurelian, Oriental, and interdivisional hybrids. Wild lilies are classified separately as species and are often crossbred with domesticated lilies.

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What Are the Different Types of Lilies?
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Full Answer

Lilies are plants with large, often fragrant flowers that grow from a bulb. All lily flowers have six "tepals," a primitive form of petal, and the blossoms are often trumpet-shaped. Beyond these commonalities, lilies vary wildly.

Asiatic lilies, often mistakenly called tiger lilies, are the hardiest lily variety and are extremely resistant to pests. Oriental lilies are similar but a bit less hardy and very fragrant. Trumpet lilies are even less hardy but bear large, long, fragrant blossoms on very tall stalks, making them ideal for the back row of a garden. Martagons are delicate, slow to propagate and require abundant shade, but they bear up to 50 small down-facing blossoms per stem. Candidium hybrids are often called Madonna lilies and are often depicted in medieval artwork celebrating the Virgin Mary. American hybrid lilies are developed wholly or largely from lilies found wild in North America. The longiflorum lily, native to Japan and Taiwan, is traditionally used as the Easter lily, partly because of its graceful white blossoms and partly because it blooms in early spring. Interdivisional hybrids are a catch-all category for the many crossbreeds of lilies from other categories.

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