Many Lily varieties originally come from Japan, China and Korea. The Lilies that you now find at the florist are hybrids of different varieties. Although Lilies are often white, there is also a red Lily. These days there are even Lilies in all kinds of pretty pastel tints.
The lily is a bulb crop which can be used on many occasions. The range is constantly developing with new groups. In the past we were mainly familiar with the Asiatic group with vivid flower colours, a large number of buds and flowers, smaller flowers, more delicate foliage and stamens which shed.
The Oriental group has the most colours in pink and white or bicoloured, has larger buds and flowers, coarser foliage, heavier stems and is strongly scented.
The most traditional group is the Lilium Longiflorum group with coarser foliage and a trumpet-shaped flower. Most cultivars are white, but there are also red and white cultivars. Longiflorum, which means ‘with long flowers’, has a light scent. The LA group was created by crossing two different groups. This group has pale pastel shades, a more compact branch structure, coarser foliage and stamens which shed.
The lily is a symbol of innocence, mortality, royalty and unity. The Romans and Greeks crowned brides with lilies for a pure and fruitful life. In Christianity lilies symbolised pure virginal love and innocence. Archangel Gabriel and the parents of Mary are often depicted with a lily in their hand. Luckily the lily is also used nowadays in innovative and challenging ways.