Lilies belong to the Genus Lilium and are considered true bulbs.
The bulb consists of modified leaves that are called scales.
The scales are attached to a flattened area called the basal plate.
Also connected to the basal plate is the roots of the plant. Some lily roots are contractile, which
means they have the ability to contract and pull the bulb down to it's optimum depth.
Most lily bulbs come in either white or yellow. They also vary in size depending upon the species or variety of Lily.
Lily bulbs come in a number of different forms.
Concentric bulbs is the most common form. Majority of the garden Lilies are in this form.
Concentric Lilies consist of a rounded pyramidal basal plate surrounded by overlapping scales or various size and number depending upon the variety.
Another type of bulb is called Stoloniferous.
These look similar to concentric bulbs but send out one or more stolons from close to the basal plate.
These stolons end in a new bulb. The connective tissue will eventually wither away and the new bulb will develop on its own.
The other two forms are Rhizomatous and Sub-rhizomatous are mostly found in a few North American species.
Most lily bulbs produce very thick, fleshy roots that have the ability to contract and pull the bulb down to the depth of soil that is most optimum for its survival.
Bulbils also have this very same ability. When they fall to the ground they will set roots and pull themselves deeper into the soil.
Some lilies also produce roots along the stem between the top of the bulb and the soil surface.
These work to help anchor and feed the bulb.
The stems of lilies are upright and are of various lengths depending upon the species, variety, age and health of the bulb.
Most are strong but some are thin and wiry. Stem length come on the very tiny not more than a couple of inches to towering giants over 6 feet.
They also come in various colours most being green but some being very dark to almost black.
The leaves of lilies come in various forms and most are long, pointed and arranged around the stem in a spiral pattern.
Some species have all the leaves in a whorl pattern at various heights along the stem. The leaves of Asiatics are narrower and more numerous than those of Orientals, which are broader and fewer.
Most lily leaves are protrude from the stem more or less in a horizontal fashion but some hold their leaves upright along the stem.
The actual leaf comes in various shapes, some being long and narrow, others being wider and more spatulate in shape. Leaf colour also varies between species and varieties.
Of course the real prize of the lily is the flowers. They all have the same basic form which is composed of three outer petals called Sepals and three inner petals.
The exterior colour of the three sepals may be a different than the interior colour.
A good example of this is L. Regale, which has a maroon bud but white interior petals and sepals.
The interior colours can be plain, spotted, splashed or lines. The majority of lilies come in white, cream, yellow, orange and reds.
Blue does not occur naturally in lilies. Also occurring are pinks, mauves, peach, maroon, purples and some greens.
Petals can be smooth, but many have ridges or raised points called Papillae.
There are normally 6 anthers that may or may not be fertile and one a single often three lobed stigma that can be quite substantial.
Lilies can come in a wide array of colors and varieties. Some of these varieties have become symbolic in different cultures.
The Easter lily for example is commonly
used to celebrate Easter and is thought to represent peace, innocence, and rebirth.
While not being part of the lily family, Peruvian lilies are thought to symbolize friendship and devotion.
With that in mind sending a
bouquet of Peruvian lilies along with regular conference calling might be a good strategy to keep in contact with old friends.