Scientific Classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Unranked Angiosperms
Unranked Monocots
Order Liliales
Family Liliales
Genus Lilium
Species L. candidum
Binomial name Lilium candidum

Other Common Names:

The other common names for the lily flower are Madonna lily and White Lily.


The Lilies are among the most beautiful bulbous plants, combining as they do stateliness and grace with brilliant and delicately-colored flowers. Lilies have been cultivated for over 3000 years. One of the first descriptions of the lily dates from the Chinese Middle Ages "the plant flowers until late autumn and there are three types, red, yellow and purple". Some forms (Lilium longiflorum, L. candidum, oriental lilies) are highly perfumed but white only; others (asiatic lilies) are highly coloured but scent-free.


Until the 16th century the Madonna lily was the only garden variety known, because of this the "lilies of the field" as mentioned in the bible are thought to be this specific lily-White lily was a favourite with the ancient Greeks and Romans and was dedicated to the Madonna in the early days of Christianity. It is not often used in commercial products, as it is a relatively scarce material. The plant is principally cultivated for the flowers. The bulb is the part used for its curative properties. Water extracts its virtues.


White lily is a perennial plant growing up to 60-150 cm in height. The thick stem of this plant is from three to four feet high, and arises from a perennial bulb or root. It's a bulb species with large scaly white bulbs, about 1 m tall stalks, and linear leaves; some leaves attached to the base of the stalk, spreading around it, other leaves erect, lanceolate, with slightly dentate margins.

Flowers are large, snow-white, and smooth inside. Each flower has six slightly curved petals and six stamens with white filaments and long yellow anthers. Flowers also contain flavorous (kaempherol and its derivatives), lilaline, jatrophine and carotenoids.By blooming time, bulbs and roots contain abundant amounts of the later acid, together with its lactone derivative - a-methylene-butyrolactone - and mineral salts, noticeably boron. Novel saponins of the spirostanol and furostanol types have been identified in Lilium candidum bulbs.


Lilium candidum L. belongs to the Liliaceae family. It grows throughout Mediterranean regions and western Asia. It probably originated in Persia and Syria.


Although often cultivated as a garden plant, it can be found spontaneously growing in the fields around gardens and country houses. The plant prefers light sandy, medium loamy and heavy clay soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade light woodland or no shade. It requires moist soil.


Sow the seeds thinly in pots from late winter to early spring in a cold frame and should germinate in 2 - 4 weeks. Great care should be taken in pricking out the young seedlings; many people prefer to leave them in the seed pot until they die down at the end of their second year's growth. This necessitates sowing the seed thinly and using a reasonably fertile sowing medium. The plants will also require regular feeding when in growth. Divide the young bulbs when they are dormant, putting 2 - 3 in each pot, and grow them on for at least another year before planting them out into their permanent positions when the plants are dormant. Division with care in the autumn once the leaves have died down. Replant immediately. Bulb scales can be removed from the bulbs in early autumn. If they are kept in a warm dark place in a bag of moist peat, they will produce bulblets. These bulblets can be potted up and grown on in the greenhouse until they are large enough to plant out.Bulblets are formed on the stem just below the soil surface. These should be dug up in the autumn and replanted immediately, preferably in a cold frame for growing on until large enough to plant out into the garden. The formation of bulbils on the stem can be induced by either removing the stem at flowering time or layering it just below the soil surface, or by removing all the flowers before they open.

Parts Used


The bulb and the flowers of the lily are commonly used for its commercial and medicinal purposes.

Flowering Season

The hermaphrodite flowers of the lily are in bloom in the month of July.

Pests and Diseases

The major disease affecting lilies is Lily Virus, which is spread by aphids. One of the most serious lily diseases is Botrytis. The early stages of Botrytis as white spots on the leaves of lily plants which become teardrop-shaped markings lighter on their outside edges and darker on the inside; in severe conditions the spots grow together and the whole leaf will turn brown and decay.

Medicinal Applications

• Boiled in milk, it is also useful for ulcers, inflammations, fever-sores, etc.


• It is used as an emollient cataplasm for tumours, ulcers and external inflammation, as well as for tumours, corns, burns and scalds.

• The root is used to advantage in dropsy.

• It is especially helpful in healing burns and wounds, as it helps to affect a cure, but without leaving any scar.

• Bulbs have traditionally been applied as a poultice for its properties as a demulcent and abscess or boil reliever.

• It has also been used to treat ulcers, wounds and burnt skin. White lily vinegar is popularly used against warts.

• Some recent studies show that the saponins present in the bulbs of Lilium candidum L. can inhibit epidermal carcinogenesis promoters.

• The pollen has been used in the treatment of epilepsy.

Commercial Applications


• It is used for ornamental purposes.

• Lily flowers extract is used in cosmetics to treat cuperosis.

• Essential oil is used in the perfume industry.

• The bulb is rich in starch; it can be used as a vegetable in similar ways to potatoes.

• The flowers are harvested when fully open and used fresh for making juice, ointments or tinctures.

• Landscape uses like borders, beds with perennial plants, and as cut flowers.


According to the astro reports the lily flower is under the dominion of the planet Moon.

Cultural and Religious Significance

Lilium candidum was the most significant flower symbol for Christians and suggested purity. As a symbol of purity associated with virgins it became known as the Madonna Lily.Feng Shui believers hold the lily as an emblem of summer and abundance; to the Chinese, lily means "Forever in love". The lily was the holy flower of the ancient Assyrians.

Folklores and Myths

In Greek poetry, the lily stood for tenderness. It was also referred to as the voice of cicadas or of the muses. There is a Greek myth that tells us how the lily was born from the milk of the goddess Hera. The lily still symbolises pure, virginal love in the Christian world. In China some served as lucky charms, while others were thought to be capable of averting the evil eye.

Six leaves of the flower form a shape that resembles the Star of David, and this is a source of importance of Star of David in Judaism. The Madonna lily was formerly the provincial flower of Quebec, a reference to the white fleurs de lis on the provincial flag. However, as the Madonna lily is not native to Quebec and grows poorly there, the provincial flower was changed to the blue flag iris, which is native to Quebec.