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Thursday, 19 July 2012

Tiger Lilly (Lilium lancifolium)


Lilium lancifolium  is a species of lily native to north and eastern parts of Asia, notably Japan. It is one of several species of lily that are commonly called Tiger lily but this is the species that is usually called by this name.

Like other true lilies, the flowers are borne on an stem that varies between 80cm and 200cm. The stem is covered with leaves that range from 6cm to 10 cm in length and 1cm to2cm wide.  Lilium lancifolium is one of a few lily species that can produce aerial bulbils, in the leaf axils along the stem. These can be removed and then used to propagate the plant. In common with many other lilys the beautiful flowers only last for a short amount of time before they fade and die.

In the six to eight weeks after flowering the stem bulblets should be left alone to develop and fatten up. After this time the bulblets can be removed from the stem, it is important to plant the the bulblets as soon as possible after removing. As long as they are given enough room to grow they should flower after just a year or two depending on the initial size. Obviously larger ones will flower sooner than smaller ones, so give them plenty of time to develop on the stem. If you prefer to plant them in a nursery until they get to flowering size, be sure to label them carefully as until they flower it will be hard to identify the cultivar. If you are keen to grow a large number of new plants quickly then you should remove the flower buds before it has flowered. This ensures that the plant will put all of its energy that would have gone to the flowers back into the bulblets and these will be a lot larger and therefore produce better plants faster.

It is widely grown cultivated in Asia not just for its flowers but also the edible bulbs. While most parts of the plant are edible for humans, the pollen is poisonous. All parts of the plant are toxic to cats, resulting in kidney failure in a few days after eating it, so take care if you have feline companions.

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