Tag Archives: Lilium speciosum

Oriental and asiatic hybrid lilies

This is an asiatic hybrid lily growing in the garden of the flat I stayed in in Jondal during the Nordic Permaculture Festival!

An asiatic hybrid lily

According to wikipedia, asiatic hybrids include “hybrids of many Asiatic species and their interspecific hybrids, including  Lilium brownii,  Lilium henryi,  Lilium leucanthumLilium regaleLilium rosthorniiLilium sargentiae and Lilium sulphureum. The flowers are trumpet shaped, facing outward or somewhat downward, and tend to be strongly fragrant, often especially night-fragrant.”  Of these, both L. brownii and L. henryi are used for food.

On the other hand oriental hybrids “are based on hybrids within Lilium section Archelirion,specifically Lilium auratum and Lilium speciosum, together with crossbreeds from several species native to Japan, including Lilium nobilissimum, Lilium rubellum, Lilium alexandrae, and Lilium japonicum. They are fragrant, and the flowers tend to be outward facing. Plants tend to be tall, and the flowers may be quite large. The whole group are sometimes referred to as “stargazers” because many of them appear to look upwards”

I’ve never tasted hybrid lilies, but maybe I should as two of the asiatics and all the 6 oriental species involved are eaten in Japan…most importantly L. auratum which is cultivated for markets on a field scale, the others mainly foraged I think! I wonder if anyone has hybridised lilies for food rather than beauty….an interesting project for someone perhaps?