Lilium Martagon Section

Lilium is a large genus in the Liliaceae family. Information and pictures of species on the PBS wiki are found on section pages. This wiki page is for the Martagon Section. Other sections and hybrids are linked below.

Most martagons have delayed hypogeal germination. This means that in the first summer, the seed will turn into a micro-bulb with a root. The cotyledon never occurs above ground but acts as an umbilical cord between the seed and the micro-bulb. The micro-bulb will then wait for a longer period of cold temperatures and when the temperature in the second spring again increases it will send up a true leaf.
The rationale behind this might be that it allows the seedling to emerge quickly in the spring before the trees start robbing the flora on the ground of light and water, especially since the radicle needs time to find its way between the soil particles, this way it is all set to go the second spring. Cardiocrinum, Trillium and Leucojum vernum germinate in a similar way. See Lilium Seeds for pictures of Lilium martagon seeds germinating.
Martagons are self sterile, as a result all Lilium hansonii grown in Europe were the same clone for nearly a century. That clone is more orange and has more flattish flowers than the majority of the currently available plants. It is now becoming rare.


American Section A-M - American Section N-Z - Asiatic Section A-C - Asiatic Section D-K - Asiatic Section L-O - Asiatic Section P-Z - Candidum Section - Dauricum Section - Oriental Section - Trumpet Section - Lilium Hybrids - Lilium Index


Lilium distichum occurs in China, Korea and eastern Siberia. In the literature it is sometimes described as having only two flowers. In cultivation it can have more. The flowers are very characteristic with uneven distribution of tepals. It has only one whorl of leaves and there is often a pause in growth before the flowering stem develops from the bud in the middle of the whorl. At that stage it looks a little like a Paris. It is a woodlander that can grow well in rather dark places. It is also very frost hardy. Like most martagons, it has delayed hypogeal germination. Photos 1-2 by Göte Svanholm. Photo 3 of a bulb by Pontus Wallstén.

Lilium distichum, Göte SvanholmLilium distichum, Göte SvanholmLilium distichum, Pontus Wallstén

Lilium hansonii is native to Korea. It will grow to well over 120 cm (4 feet) but many years will be as short as 60 cm (24 inches). The foliage is whorled; the florets are sweetly scented, yellow with brown spotting, down facing and basically flat faced. It crosses with various Lilium martagon varieties. It does not suffer late spring frosts well and when hit by a late frost, it will take a couple years to recover. Photos 1-3 were submitted by Darm Crook. Photos 4-6 were taken by Nhu Nguyen at the UC Botanical Garden.

Lilium hansonii, Darm CrookLilium hansonii, Darm CrookLilium hansonii, Darm CrookLilium hansonii, UC Botanical Garden, Nhu NguyenLilium hansonii, UC Botanical Garden, Nhu NguyenLilium hansonii, UC Botanical Garden, Nhu Nguyen

Photo of a bulb by Pontus Wallstén.

Lilium hansonii bulb, Pontus Wallstén

Lilium hansonii red form This form was grown from RHS seed exchange where it was listed as wild collected. It is typical in all ways to the type except for the colour, a very dark ox blood red. It also appears to be a little more vigorous then the type which may imply hybrid status. Two photos and text by Darm Crook.

Lilium hansonii red form, Darm CrookLilium hansonii red form, Darm Crook

Lilium martagon is native to central Europe through northern Asia to Mongolia and Korea. It may be slow to establish, but is very long lived and can form large clumps; with its many varieties it is another fine lily. Most of the varieties and forms are not accepted by the Plant List but we are including many of them below since people who grow them are interested in different forms. This species has naturalized in Quebec, Canada and is widely grown in cool winter areas of North America. It has a Turk's Cap form, rather thick petals, and the scales of the bulb are yellow. It is very free flowering with up to 50 flowers on a stem with whorled leaves that can reach 60 inches in height. It remains in flower for a long time and can be grown in sun or part shade where it will be shorter. The species is pale to deep (rather dull) pink but the varieties can be found with yellow, purplish-pink, red or carmine flowers. Photos from Janos Agoston.

Lilium martagon, Janos AgostonLilium martagon, Janos AgostonLilium martagon, Janos AgostonLilium martagon, Janos AgostonLilium martagon, Janos Agoston

Photos taken in a garden setting by Darm Crook.

Lilium martagon, Darm CrookLilium martagon, Darm CrookLilium martagon, Darm Crook

Lilium martagon var. album Weston according to the Plant List is a synonym of Lilium martagon var. martagon. There are two forms of this variety, a short and a tall one. The short form grows from 25 to 37 cm (12 to 18 inches) tall with up to 12 florets per stem that never fully recurve and are almost a L. hansonii flower form. The tall form will grow up to 1.18 m (4 feet) with up to 64, maybe more, fully recurved florets. First two photos are of L. martagon variety album short form; the next four photo are of the tall form taken in a garden setting by Darm Crook.

Lilium martagon v. album short form, Darm CrookLilium martagon v. album short form, Darm CrookLilium martagon v. album tall form, Darm CrookLilium martagon v. album tall form, Darm CrookLilium martagon v. album tall form, Darm CrookLilium martagon v. album tall form, Darm Crook

Lilium martagon var. cattaniae Vis. according to the Plant List is a synonym of Lilium martagon var. martagon. This variety is the deepest red/wine of all the various martagon varieties. Photo by Darm Crook.

Lilium martagon v. cattaniae, Darm Crook

Lilium martagon var. cevennes is a pink variety which is a bit lighter then the type. This variety does not appear in any of the major data bases. Photo by Darm Crook.

Lilium martagon v. cevennes, Darm Crook

Lilium martagon var. hirsutum (Mill.) Weston is from Europe (Southern Alps). The Kew checklist suggests that it is synonym for var. martagon. Grown from seed, photo by Ron Moodycliffe.

Lilium martagon var. hirsutum, Ron Moodycliffe

Lilium martagon var. roseum is a name not found in the major data bases, but there is Lilium martagon f. roseum Beck that is listed as a synonym of Lilium martagon var. martagon. The pink shade of this variety is that of a wild rose. Photo by Darm Crook.

Lilium martagon v. roseum, Darm Crook

Lilium medeoloides is from eastern Russia, Korea, Japan and north China. Photos by Pontus Wallstén.

Lilium medeoloides, Pontus WallsténLilium medeoloides, Pontus WallsténLilium medeoloides, Pontus WallsténLilium medeoloides bulb, Pontus Wallstén

Lilium tsingtauense is native to China and Korea. It will grow up to 95 cm (3 feet) tall. The florets are orange, upfacing, unpleasantly scented and flat with heavy to almost no spotting of dark orange to brown. The foliage is set in whorls and (most plants) will show a marbling of various shades of green. It will cross with martagons and martagon hansonii hybrids. First five photos submitted by DarmCrook; photo 6 of a bulb by Pontus Wallstén.

Lilium tsingtauense, Darm CrookLilium tsingtauense, Darm CrookLilium tsingtauense, Darm CrookLilium tsingtauense, Darm CrookLilium tsingtauense, Darm CrookLilium tsingtauense, Pontus Wallstén

Photos and text by Göte Svanholm. Lilium tsingtauense as described in floras has starry upright flowers and usually only one whorl of leaves. The one found in Korea fits the description well and has a very distinct shape of the inflorescence. Unlike most uprights, which have umbels, it branches out in a way that is unique in the genus. It has long pedicels that turn upwards. The stem is often not straight but bifurcates. This form is rarely found in cultivation. Tsingtauense "of gardens" is a larger more showy plant with larger flowers that are not starry, not upright and slightly asymmetrical. It seems that this is the one supplied by Dutch bulb merchants. Both forms have normally only one whorl of leaves.

Lilium tsingtauense, Göte SvanholmLilium tsingtauense, Göte Svanholm

American Section A-M - American Section N-Z - Asiatic Section A-C - Asiatic Section D-K - Asiatic Section L-O - Asiatic Section P-Z - Candidum Section - Dauricum Section - Oriental Section - Trumpet Section - Lilium Hybrids - Lilium Index


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Page last modified on May 06, 2014, at 05:48 PM