When is a Lily not a Lily? Lisa Bennett

When is a Lily not a Lily?

In my humble view if it is not a member of the Liliaceae botanical family it is not a Lily regardless of its common name.  Having said that, for reasons unbeknownst to me some plants have changed families so many times, it is hard to keep track, in fact, they continue to change, so some of the information that I have managed to discover may not be up to date.  For example, my “go to” botanical book source (published in 2002) has Lily of the Valley in the Convallariaceae family (same as Solomon’s Seal), however, according to Wikipedia it has already moved on to the Asparagaceae family, with a few stops along the way.

Given that my paper source is likely out of date I moved onto the more reliable (?) source, Wikipedia.  Bottom line, the source of information may be dated, or incorrect, but this was fun to research.

Lily of the Valley

Family – Asparagaceae

Species – Convallara majallis

Verdict – not a Lily

Lily of the Valley in early spring

Lily of the Valley (photo: Wikimedia)

Day Lily

Family – Asphodelaceae

Species – Hemerocallis spp

Verdict – not a Lily

Day Lily

Trout Lily (this is what you will see hopefully on a walk)

Family – Liliaceae

Species – Erythronium americanum

Verdict – a Lily

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum)

Easter Lily

Family – Liliaceae

Species – Lilium longiflorum

Verdict – a Lily

Lisa Bennett




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