Kenneth Hixson
Tue, 05 Jul 2005 12:36:15 PDT
Dear Marie-Paule
>I have a problem with a white lelie(it is a hardy one) of which I do not 
>know the name, on the stems(in the armpits) hanging small bulbs of seed. I 
>think that  for this reason none or few flowers come to flower,can't I 
>better throw away these bulbs?
         It is really hard to give meaningful advice when we don't know if 
your lily
is really a lily, and not a calla lily or lily-of-peru, or something 
else.  We can
only guess if the plant is/should be flowering now, or some other time.  In 
words, what follows may be completely wrong, but it is probably the best I
can do without further information.

         Assuming it actually is a lily, the small bulbs in the leaf axils 
are called
bulbils.  They are vegetative reproductions, like divisions.  Seeds come 
only from
flowers, so they can't be seeds.  At the end of the season, the bulbils can be
planted, and will produce small copies of the mother, which will probably not
flower for a couple years.
         Many lilies will produce bulbils, most often asiatics such as L. 
as John B. mentioned.  Trumpet lilies do so occasionally, especially if 
they have
L. sulfureum or L. sargentianum in their ancestry.  Bulbils are 
particularly likely
to form if the mother bulb is too small to flower this year, but growing 
Thus, throwing away your lily is probably (yes, probably) the wrong thing 
to do,
it is growing vigorously but too small to flower this year, next year it 
should flower
         It might be worthwhile to go to an internet search engine such as and search for "white lilies" or the like, and see if 
is similiar to your lily.   The PBS Wiki is another place to look at images of
lilies, and perhaps you could tell us it resembles some particular image.  If
you type in bulbils instead of "white Lily", you will find images of lilies 
bulbils, and can make a guess if that is what your lily has.


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