Lilium lancifolium Thunb. is a species of lily native to eastern Guam, China, Korea and Japan. This species is commonly called the "Tiger Lily", synonymous with Lilium tigrinum Ker Gawl. To some its origins are controversial. In the West it has been believed to be a sterile triploid clone not found in the wild and preserved in cultivation in China as a food crop. The spread of information about diploid plants and the yellow variety flaviflorum growing in the wild upset this idea. There is a double variety 'Flore Pleno'. Height is around 5 feet and flowering time in NW England is mid August. Plants are robust and easy to grow; they are not scented.
It has hairy stems and produces large numbers of bulbils in the leaf axils; usually the stems are very dark but green stem forms exist. A bulbil collected in year N can produce flowers in year N+2. Bulbils often have roots whilst attached to the stem. They need to spend winter producing lots more roots so should be planted as soon as possible. The Tiger Lily has a reputation as the "Typhoid Mary" of the lily world, being very resistant to disease and virus tolerant which equals a risk to other lilies.
Tiger lily is an attractive name so unscrupulous bulb merchants apply it to various lilies which increases the confusion about what it actually is. As the Chinese name for this lily, it was adopted by Ker Gawler in 1810 as Lilium tigrinum. In Japan the name is oniyuri which means ogre-lily. Thunberg working on Japanese material named it in 1794 as Lilium lancifolium.
For a different point of view see this pbs list discussion.
The first and second photos from David Pilling show hairy stems with bulbils and flowers. Photos three through five from Darm Crook are of a diploid form. The last photo by Ron Parsons shows plants at the Strybing Arboretum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California.
Bulb photos from Pontus Wallstén.
In 2022 the major data bases do not recognize varieties, but some may still be growing plants under the variety names listed below.
Lilium lancifolium var. flaviflorum is the yellow variant (Makino 1933). It is easy, beautiful, and comes true from seed. Photos #1 and 2 from Göte Svanholm and photos 3-5 from Darm Crook. Picture 6 taken by Janos Agoston illustrates an immature bulb.
Lilium lancifolium 'Flore Pleno' photos from Darm Crook.
Lilium lancifolium var. fortueni (Standish) V.A.Matthews photo from Darm Crook.
Lilium lancifolium var. splendens (Van Houtte) V.A.Matthews triploid photo from Darm Crook.
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