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Flower Spotlight: Lilies

Let’s start the summer off by learning about the fourth most popular flower in the world, lilies. Lilies are popular for their large trumpet-shaped petals and strong scent. This flower comes in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colors. With over 100 genuses in the Liliaceae family there is much to learn!

Origins and Symbolism
Lilies are native to the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe and North America. In the Victorian Era lilies earned the meaning “majesty,” due to their unique shape and long-time association with the Virgin Mary. People during this era would wear lilies in their hair and pinned to evening gowns.

The lily symbolizes purity and refined beauty. Each color of the lily though represents a different meaning. White lilies symbolize purity and modesty, orange lilies symbolize passion, and pink lilies symbolize wealth and prosperity.

[Read more…]

April Flower Spotlight: Lily

When thinking about which flower to spotlight for April, there could only ever be one choice. Which flower is most synonymous with April? Like Valentine’s Day is to the rose so Easter is to the Lily.

Del SolLily Origins

The fact is, nobody knows where and/or when the lily was discovered. Because it grows in the northern hemisphere in Asia, Europe and North America, it is very possible that the lily has been part of human society as long as such a thing as human society has ever existed. And since humanity and the lily share similar geographical origins, it should come as no surprise that it has cropped up as a symbol in both religious writings and myth that date back to ancient times.

The Lily and Myth

The lily was believed by the ancient Greeks to have been created when a drop of milk fell from Hera’s breast while unwittingly feeding the baby Hercules. (Zeus put her to sleep for the event because she would never have allowed it otherwise. Hercules was the result of one of Zeus’ byblows and as Zeus’ wife, she would be unsurprisingly reluctant to allow the result of that affair to nurse and thus become a god.) The Greeks saw it as a symbol of birth and motherhood. Because of the pistol in the center, they also saw it as a masculine symbol of high eroticism and sexuality.

 

In Roman mythology, Venus, goddess of love was jealous of the flower’s beauty and thus forced the pistol to rise from it’s center in an attempt to mar its perfection. It was sacred in Minoan society, and a painted image was found in Crete which dates back to ~1580 B.C.E.

Traditional Easter LilyThe Lily and Christianity

The lily is mentioned in both testaments of the Holy Bible, and has become associated with the Virgin Mary as a symbol of purity and chastity. It was also considered representative of death and was adopted as a symbol for the loss of children and the martyrdom of saints.

The Easter lily, a flower most Americans recognize on site and associate with the religious holiday, are native to Japan and did not even in exist in American greenhouses until after WWI when a soldier by the name of Louis Houghton brought some bulbs home after his stay in that country. The American-grown version exploded in popularity during WWII when the Japanese supply was cut-off. It’s popularity has remained and it is the face of the holiday for many families.

Lily Meanings

The lily has many different meanings. Here they are in no particular order:

  • Hope
  • Faith
  • BirthLily
  • Purity
  • Renewal
  • Promise
  • Passion
  • Becoming
  • Chastity
  • Innocence
  • Fertility
  • Cleansing
  • Motherhood
  • Remembrance
  • Transitioning

The lily is a flower rich in history and symbolic meaning. It is beautiful and loved throughout the world by people of all cultures and creeds. It is a popular flower and one that you should have no trouble locating at your local florist.

So send a friend or loved one a bouquet or arrangement with meaning, send them some lilies!

Help! What Type of Flower Is This?

Ask the Plant Expert:

What type of flower is this? Its an outdoor flower…that’s all I know. – Aubrey

Lily Foliage

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply:

Aubrey,
It looks like a type of lily, most likely an Asiatic lily. When the bloom opens, we maybe able to give you a more definitive identification. Hope this helps.

The Easter Lily

Easter Lily

Easter Lilies (Lilium longiflorum)With Easter just around the corner, we had to highlight the holiday’s favorite flower – the Easter lily!

Easter Lily History

The lily has long symbolized purity, virtue and faith for Christians. Medieval depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary often show her holding these flowers and even in King Solomon’s Temple there were designs of lilies on the columns.Lilies were also found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ’s agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress. For this reason, you will see Easter lilies on decorating pulpits, alters and more in churches all across the world.

Easter Lily Today

The regal, white lily is a fitting symbol of the greater meaning of Easter. Gracing millions of homes and churches, the flowers embody joy, hope and life. Whether given as a gift or enjoyed in your own home, the Easter Lily serves as a beautiful reminder that Easter is a time for rejoicing and celebrating.

By Louise Lewin Matthews, this poem captures the spiritual essence of the Easter Lily:

Easter morn with lilies fair
Fills the church with perfumes rare,
As their clouds of incense rise,
Sweetest offerings to the skies.
Stately lilies pure and white
Flooding darkness with their light,
Bloom and sorrow drifts away,
On this holy hallow’d day.
Easter Lilies bending low in the golden afterglow,
Bear a message from the sod
To the heavenly towers of God.

-Louise Lewin Matthews

Whether you’re tending an Easter lily from years past, buying a new one for yourself, or sending a lily as an Easter gift, always always always use a real local florist when you buy plants and flowers. You can use Flower Shop Network’s handy florist finder to find a florist near you!

April’s Favorite Flower Arrangement

April Flowers

This month’s favorite flower arrangement is simple, yet perfect for this season. Lilies and April go together like peanut butter and jelly. These soft pink blooms are long-lasting and full of character. Blushing Beauty is the perfect name for this arrangement. You can see these blooms look like they are blushing with shyness. If pink isn’t your style, you might also choose white, orange or whatever other color lily your local florist may have. Just give them a call!

 

What Is This Pink Lily From Generations Past

Ask The Plant Expert: Can you ID this lily? It may be old plant – passed down thru several human generations. Plant is blooming now – three beautiful flowers in a pot here in Kentucky! Has abundant narrow leaves 1/4 inch wide. -DH

Pink Crinum Lily

Flower Shop Network Plant Expert Reply: I believe this may be a type of pink Crinum lily.

The Lavish Lily

It’s easy to see why the lily is a popular favorite during spring, considering it’s used as a symbol of Easter.

ABOUT LILIES

The genus Lilium includes over 100 different species. Lilies are a favorite among gardeners and florists for their large, showy blooms. Lilies thrive in many types of landscapes and even do well in potted containers.

Where Did The Name Come From?
The Latin name for Lily is the botanic name Lilium, this is derived from the Greek word leírion, (λείριον). This word has an unusual history, it comes from a mix of Greek and Egyption words. Linguists, or language specialists, believe that both the Egyptian and the Greek word are possible loans from an extinct, substratum language of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking of names, ‘lily’ tends to get thrown around a lot in the flower world. Calla lilies, water lilies, lily of the valley — none of these are actually in the lily family.

Lilies in the Kitchen?
Lilies are also very important to cultural and even culinary traditions to much of the world. That’s right! In many areas, especially in Asia, lily bulbs are eaten as root vegetables, much like potatoes! (Although bulbs of some species may be very bitter.) Below is a picture of a bag of lily bulb noodles.

Lily Noodles - GumJum

THE MADONNA LILY

Madonna LilyThe Madonna Lily, Lilium candidum, is perhaps the best known lily species there is. The Madonna Lily symbolizes purity for Roman Catholics. In medieval times, depictions of the Virgin Mary often show her holding these flowers. Going back even further, Madonna lilies are depicted on wall paintings at the Minoan palace of Knossos.

There are translations of the Bible that identify the Hebrew word Shoshannah as ‘lily’ in Song of Soloman (Song of Songs) “As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” Song of Soloman 2:2 (KJV), not as a rose as is customary to translate.

In King Solomon’s Temple there were also designs of Madonna lilies on the columns. [Read more…]

What to Do With Lilies Bulbs After Flower Has Died

Ask the Expert: do u lift the bulbs for r-planting
i have varius lilies in my garded do u r-plant the bulbs when the flowering has gone Joan


Flower Shop Network
‘s Plant Expert Reply:

In my zone 6, I leave the lilies in the ground year round and only dig them up when I need to thin them.  After the blooms are finished on my lilies, I leave the foliage up to allow the plant to collect as much energy for next year. When the foliage dies, I will remove it from the garden and make sure my lilies have a good covering of mulch before winter. A couple months before they bloom, I add some fertilizer to the area.

If you are in an area when you can’t leave the bulbs, wait until the foliage dies back and them dig the bulbs. Remove all the soil and place the bulbs in a cool dark and dry place until you can replant them next season.

Delicate Pink Flower Is A Hurricane Lily

Hurricane Lily

Hurricane Lily

Ask the Expert: What flower is this?
I found this flower growing in some dense brush and though i want to trim the brush I wasnt sure if doing so would hurt the flowers as they seem to like the shade.. DJ Dicey

Plant Expert Reply:

I believe this delicate pink flower is a Hurricane Lily (lucoris radiata) also known as a red spider lily.  These beautiful flowers are perennial and will live in full sun or partial shade areas.  So you can cut back the brush and the lilies will be ok.  These lilies usually pop up right before hurricane season (late September – October).  The flowers usually last a week or two and then leaves will appear. By next summer the leaves will die back. Then the whole process begins again.

Surprise Lily Makes An Appearance

Ask the Expert: I may have old world day lily. The plant foliage comes up in spring and looks similar to daffodil, but larger. Leaves die back during July. After the leaves die, stem grows out of ground to the height of 3 ft. Each stem produces lily-like flowers 6 to each stem at the top of the stem in a circle.  They are white at edges pink at center. Six petals to each flower and delicate day lily look. If you have a clue let me know i will give more info. Donna

Plant Expert Reply:

Surprise Lily (Lycoris squamigera)

Surprise Lily (Lycoris squamigera)

I believe you have, what we call in the mid-south, a surprise lily.  So named because it seems overnight to pop up a bloom stalk with blooms and no appearance of leaves.  Surprise lilies (Lycoris squamigera) are sometimes called naked lily, resurrection lily, magic lily, mystery lily, hardy amaryllis, or Guernsey lily.  They come from a bulb and can be planted right under sod.

Nerine Bowdenii Spider Lily

Nerine Bowdenii Spider Lily

Another possibility is the Spider Lily (Nerine bowdenii) which is in the same family, Amaryllidaceae, as Lycoris.

In fact, the common names for each are often assigned to the other one as well.  For example Nerine is sometimes called surprise lily, Guernsey lily and are produced from a bulb just like Lycoris.

Each type of lily comes in a range of colors from white to purple and even a reddish color. They like full sun to partial shade, but full sun produces the best blooming.  Once planted they will come up year after year without much care.

In my area, we call this a homestead plant.  Many old homesteads have this flowering blooming in their yards.

For more information about the Lycoris squamigera, check out Floridata surprise lily page.

For more information about the Nerine bowdenii, check out Pacific Bulb Society Nerine page.

If your flower looks different, send me a picture and we will try to make a different identification.