Liliaceae - Lily Family
Contents English Names Index
 

Liliaceae is a large family, with hundreds of exotic species in cultivation. They include hyacinths, tulips, onions, as well as the true lilies. This family is extremely complex and botanists estimate 250 genera and 4,000 to 6,000 species worldwide. Some species are edible while others are very poisonous.
The flowers have 3 petals and 3 sepals, often very similar (in which they are referred to as tepals or perianth segments). There are typically 6 stamens, rarely 3. All these parts attach at the base of the ovary. The fruit is either dry and cracking at maturity or fleshy in certain species - it is divided into 3 segments.
The leaves are alternate or basal, simple and usually narrow.
All species are prerennial, but most are herbaceous (not having a woody stem) and die back, after flowering or fruiting, to underground bulbs, corms, or rhizomes. New plants form from bulb division or sprout from seeds, but usually do not begin flowering until about the fourth year, after the bulb has developed sufficiently.

 
 
Guide to Identify Presented Species of the Lily Family
WHITE OR PINK FLOWERS, IN DENSE UMBEL CLUSTERS
Allium brevistylum - Short-styled Onion
Stem 20-60 cm tall, onion-smelling. Moist meadows, plains to montane zone.
Flowers pink, 10-13 mm long, on stalks, several in flat-topped cluster
Leaves grass-like, 2 to several basal. Medicinal plant, all parts edible.
Allium cernuum - Nodding Onion
Stem slender, 10-50 cm tall, onion-smelling. Meadows, plains to montane.
Flowers white to pink, bell-shaped, 6-7 mm wide, in nodding top clusters.
Leaves basal,
grass-like, 3-7 mm wide, flat or keeled. Edible plant.
Allium schoenoprasum - Wild Chives
Stem 20-60 cm tall, round, onion-smelling. Wet meadows, plains to montane.
Flowers rose-pink to purplish, 8-14 mm long, in dense, ball-like heads.
Leaves usually 2, hollow, 1-7 mm wide. Medicinal plant, all parts edible.
WHITE OR CREAM FLOWERS, MANY IN OTHER TYPE CLUSTERS
Maianthemum stellatum - Starry False Solomon's Seal
Stem 20-60 cm tall, leafy, arched. Moist woods to dry, exposed hills.
Flowers white, 10-15 mm wide, with 6 spreading tepals, in a loose top cluster.
Leaves: alternate, broad, pointed, stalkless, in 2 rows.
Xerophyllum tenax - Beargrass
Robust plant, 50-150 cm tall, in colonies. Open woods, montane to subalpine.
White, fragrant, 10-15 mm wide, long-stalked, numerous in a dense top cluster.
Leaves: mainly basal, in large clumps, grass-like, sharp-edged.
Zigadenus elegans - Mountain Death-camas
Stem 15-70 cm tall, waxy-coated. Moist forests, meadows, montane-alpine.
Flowers white, about 2 cm wide, with inner green, heart-shaped markings.
Leaves mainly basal, grass-like, keeled. All parts highly poisonous.
Zigadenus venenosus - Meadow Death-camas
Stem 20-50 cm tall. Moist forests, meadows, montane-alpine.
Flowers greenish-white, about 1.5 cm wide, with inner green, oval markings.
Leaves mainly basal, grass-like, keeled. All parts highly poisonous.
WHITE OR CREAM FLOWERS, FEW, NOT CLUSTERED
Calochortus gunnisonii - Gunnison's Mariposa-lily
Stem 10-30 cm tall, simple. Grasslands and open coniferous forests.
Flowers white, 1 to few, 3-4 cm wide, with 3 broad petals, greenish within.
Leaves: few, small, grass-like, alternate. Medicinal plant, all parts edible.

Leucocrinum montanum - Star Lily
Stemless, about 5-10 cm tall. Sandy to rocky areas, plains to montane.
Flowers white, fragrant, about 3 cm broad, long-stalked, from base of the plant.
Leaves: basal, tufted, grass-like, up to 20 cm long. Roots reportedly edible.

Lloydia serotina - Alp Lily
Stem 5-15 cm tall, almost naked. Cliffs and rock crevices in the alpine zone.
Flowers mostly solitary, white, about 2 cm broad, with colored veins.
Leaves basal and alternate, small, short, grass-like.
Streptopus amplexifolius - Clasping-leaved Twisted-stalk
Stems 50-100 cm tall, leafy, freely branched. Moist forests, mountain thickets.
Flowers greenish-white, 1 cm wide, twisted-stalked, with curved back tepals.
Leaves: alternate, broad, sharp-pointed, clasping stem.
YELLOW OR ORANGE FLOWERS
Erythronium grandiflorum - Yellow Glacier Lily
Stems 10-40 cm tall, leafless. Moist sites, forest openings, montane to alpine.
Flowers bright yellow, solitary, nodding, 3-6 cm wide, 6 tepals curved upwards.
Leaves basal in 1 pair, bright green, lance-shaped to elliptic.
Fritillaria pudica - Yellowbells
Stems 10-30 cm tall, often clustered. Grasslands and sagebrush areas.
Flowers yellow, nodding, usually single, 1.5-2.5 cm long, narrowly bell-shaped.
Leaves basal, 2 and usually almost opposite
. Bulbs and seed pods edible.
BLUE FLOWERS
Triteleia grandiflora - Wild Hyacinth
Stems 20-60 cm tall, leafless. Grasslands, meadows, sagebrush areas.
Flowers blue, narrowly bell-shaped, in a top cluster. Inner lobes wavy-edged.
Leaves: basal, 1-2, grass-like, flat but keeled beneath
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Alphabetical listing with links to presented species of the Lily family:
     
Scientific Name English Name Swedish Name
 

 

 
Allium
Calochortus
Erythronium
Fritillaria
Leucocrinum
Lloydia
Maianthemum
Streptopus
Triteleia
Xerophyllum
Zigadenus
Onion
Mariposa Lily
Glacier Lily
Fritillaria
Star Lily
Alp Lily
False Solomon's Seal
Twisted Stalk
Wild Hyacinth
Beargrass
Death-camas
Lökar
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Gräslök
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Klockliljor
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Stjärnramsar
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