What is a lily? (We get many questions refering to plants that are n

azngrnthumbsJanuary 1, 2013

The "true" lily is botanically known as the genus Lilium. They all grow from underground bulbs composed of fleshy scales attached together by a basal plate where roots are formed. The plants are herbaceous dying back each year and emerging the next, which makes them perennial. The parts of the flowers come in sets of six (6 Petals/Tepals, 6 filaments and anthers): a typical characteristic of the Lily family (Liliaceae).

This characteristic and the "Lily" name has carried through to other plants within the family and, in many occasions, outside of the Liliaceae. Plants that are not true lilies often bare the same "Lily" due to their resemblance to Lilium. Some examples include (common name/botanical name):

(Daylily = Hemerocallis) (Canna Lily = Canna) (Amazon Lily = Eucharis) (Sword Lily = Gladiolus) (Crinum Lily = Crinum) (Plantain Lily = Hosta) (August Lily = Hosta (sp. plantaginea)) (Calla Lily = Zantedeschia) (Lily of The Valley = Convallaria)

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