Lilies appear throughout many cultures, in dozens of different ways, often in a high profile manner.
It’s not surprising, considering there are over 100 genuses of lily recorded - although there are also some imposters (calla lilies and water lilies - which aren’t lilies at all!).
Lilium bulbs often feature in Asian culinary or herbal roles. Many are starchy and edible as root vegetables (although some varieties can be very bitter). From flavouring soups to types of custard, to medicinal tonics, there are some commonly used lilies who have found a real niche in the food world as popular ingredients.
However, don’t try this at home because many varieties are poisonous to humans.
Many lilium species are toxic to cats - even when just licking lily pollen off their fur, which can lead to renal failure and even death.
In the ancient Egyptian empire, the lily symbolised innocence, which carried through medieval times into the Victorian era.
(The Egyptians also turned lilies into perfume, as a fragrance and extracted into oils and ointments.)
Lilium have long been picture in religious iconography, especially with the Virgin Mary.
Lilium longiflorum is a native of Japan, but more frequently known as the Easter Lily, In Christianity, it is the symbol of the resurrection of Christ. Legend has it that these lilies flowered in the Garden of Gethsemane, the day after Jesus prayed there before his crucifixion - growing where drops of his sweat had fallen to the ground.