Flower Resources – a Guide to Lilies

Lilies have long been admired and valued for their beauty and fragrance.

However, the word “lily” is normally colloquially used to refer to only a couple of flowers. In reality, there are several species of flowers that fall under the lily family.

Since lily plants produce large and colorful flowers, they are prized among gardeners. The flowers are not the only important part of the plant.

The bulb is commonly used in some Asian cultures as a vegetable, and in other parts of the world, its essential oils are extracted for use in aromatherapy and perfumes.

Liliaceae: Types of Lilies

The Liliaceae family of plants usually bears small flowers that tend to be white, yellow or shades of blue and purple. Some of these flowers follow a star shape while others appear as a bell shape. The stamens are usually quite long and prominent.

Bear Grass:

  • Bear Grass Flowers: When in bloom, a bear grass plant has sweet-smelling, small white flowers.
  • Bear Grass Plant: Beargrass does not look like a typical lily, but instead resembles a long-leafed grass.  


  • Brodiaea Plant: There are two types of Brodiaea plants: Corrina and Queen Fabiola.

Crag Lily:

  • Crag Lily Flower: Crag lilies can be recognized by their creamy yellow color and the characteristic green stripe running down each petal. The size of the crag lily flower sometimes causes it to droop downwards slightly due to its size.
  • Crag Lily Plant: Crag lily plants can survive all year round but only begin to flower around May.

Death Camas:

  • Death Camas Flowers: The death camas plant features a cluster of small white flowers that grow on the end of a long, tall stem.
  • Death Camas Plant: The death camas is rightly named since the plant as well as its flowers are poisonous to humans and animals.

English Bluebells:

  • English Bluebell Flowers: English bluebells face downwards and feature long petals that curve out at the tips. They grow in shades of blue to violet.
  • English Bluebell Plant: English bluebells are quite hardy and can survive well under various conditions.

Fairy Bells:

  • Fairy Bell Flowers: Fairy bells are aptly named for the charming small white flowers that hang downwards.
  • Fairy Bell Plant: The fairy bell plant is overall a small one and bears red berries.

Fairy Lanterns:

  • Fairy Lantern Flowers: Fairy lantern flowers are white with almost translucent petals and hang downwards. They never really open fully but instead stay mostly closed as with the buds.
  • Fairy Lantern Plant: Although the flowers look quite delicate, the plant itself is rather robust and can survive in many environments including rocks and steep hillsides.

Golden Brodiaea:

  • Golden Brodiaea Flowers: These flowers usually feature six petals in a white to light yellow color, with a darker yellow stripe that runs down the center of each petal.
  • Golden Brodiaea Plant: The golden brodiaea can commonly be found around the Yosemite region.

Queen`s Cup Lily:

  • Queen’s Cup Plant: This plant normally grows in wet forest areas at somewhat high altitudes.

Star-flowered Solomon`s Seal:

Twisted Stalk:

  • Twisted Stalk Flower: The flowers of this plant are usually light to dark pink and are shaped like bells.
  • Twisted Stalk-Plant: The twisted stalk plant derives its name from the slight undulating pattern that the stalk follows as it grows.

White Brodiaea:

  • White Brodiaea Flowers: The White Brodiaea features flowers with white petals and a green line that runs through the center of each petal. The flowers grow in small bunches at the end of a long stem.
  • White Brodiaea Plant: This plant sprouts from a bulb and usual flowers towards the end of spring.



Plants from the Calochortus family have rounded flowers with larger petals that the Liliaceae family. The petals are normally fan-shaped as opposed to elongated and covered with fine hairs. Shades of blue to violet and pink, as well as creamy whites and yellows are the norm for these flowers.

Coast Range Mariposa Lily:

  • Coast Range Mariposa Lily Flowers: The rounded shape of the flower is immediately apparent in this top-view image, featuring white petals with just a hint of pink along the edges.
  • Coast Range Mariposa Lily Plant: This plant can most often be found along the Californian coast, hence its name.

Green-banded Mariposa Lily:

  • Green-banded Mariposa Lily Flower: The flower is so-called because it features a slightly greenish stripe down the middle of each of its vividly lavender petals. The long, pointed sepals are normally also of a greenish hue.
  • Green-banded Mariposa Lily Plant: Sadly, this plant does not grow as wildly as it once did due to a number of threats to its survival. Today it can mostly be found in cultivated gardens and greenhouses.

Hairy Star Tulip:

  • Hairy Star Tulip Flower: This photo perfectly depicts the long hairs that cover the surface of the white petals. The pointed sepals add to its star shape although the petals are quite rounded.
  • Hairy Star Tulip Plant: This plant is also known conversationally as “white pussy ears” or “Tolmie’s star tulip”. It can grow at high altitudes and lasts all year round.

Monterey Mariposa Lily:

  • Monterey Mariposa Lily Plant: Like the Coast Range Mariposa Lily, the Monterey version also grows along the Californian coastal region.

Subalpine Mariposa Lily:

  • Subalpine Mariposa Lily Flower: This white flower features three large and rounded petals covered in hairs, with a yellow center.
  • Subalpine Mariposa Lily Plant: This plant is more commonly referred to as “Alpine Cat’s Ears”.

Yellow Mariposa Lily:

  • Yellow Mariposa Lily Flowers: The flower is an intense shade of yellow with small scarlet markings around the center.
  • Yellow Mariposa Lily Plant: This plant usually flowers in later in the spring and grows several buds on each stem.


The flowers of a plant from the crinum family are quite distinct. Their petals are usually long, widely spread and colorful. The stamens are equally prominent and can sometimes be of a completely different hue. These flowers grow on stems which normally do not have leaves.

Swamp Lily:  

  • Swamp Lily Flower: The shape of these swamp lilies are typical of those from the crinum family. Their long white petals spread far and the stamens are a dark reddish color.
  • Swamp Lily Plant: Swamp lilies are aquatic plants and feature a large bulb and long leaves.

Crinum Lily


Dichelostemma plants usually grow upside-down flowers in a tube or bell shape. Blues and purples are accepted colors for the flowers, although some also feature completely different shades.


  • Bluedicks Flowers: The flowers are a lovely lavender color and have six petals, with white pointed sepals in the center.
  • Bluedicks Plants: The bulbs of the bluedicks plant are edible and enjoyed most by Native Americans.

Firecracker Flower:

  • Firecracker Flowers: The flowers of this plant are quite astonishing. They almost resemble red chili peppers with their bright red tube-shaped petals ending in a green rim with white stamens inside.
  • Firecracker Plant: This plant grows best in warm temperatures and blooms in the summer.


  • Ookow Flowers: Ookow flowers grow in small clusters and feature six light purple petals with a small yellow center.
  • Ookow Plant: The Ookow plant blooms at the beginning of spring, as early as mid-February.

Pink Diamond

  • Pink Diamond Flowers: Pink Diamond flowers feature a classic tube shape and are usually a bright magenta color.
  • Pink Diamond Plant: This plant grows best in drier regions and only blooms by the beginning of summer.


Plants from the Erythronium species tend to grow flowers with long petals that sometimes curl out at the edges. The stamens usually hang downwards. Common colors for plants in this family are white, yellow and shades of pink.

Avalanche Lily:

  • Avalanche Lily Flowers: These flowers hang downwards and have long, spread-out white petals that curve upwards. The stamens are long and a bright yellow.
  • Avalanche Lily Plants: The Avalanche Lilies get their name because their flower after the winter snow melts.

Giant White Fawn Lily:

  • Giant White Fawn Lily Flowers: This flower looks somewhat similar to avalanche lilies, but its petals are much more elongated.
  • Giant White Fawn Lily Plants: This plant flowers throughout spring and grows best in somewhat shaded areas.

Pink Fawn Lily:

  • Pink Fawn Lily Flowers: These lilies follow the same general shape as the white fawn lilies, but sport cheery pink petals that are slightly darker at the base.
  • Pink Fawn Lily Plants: Pink fawn lilies tend to grow in shaded forest areas on the north-western coastal regions of North America.


Fritillaria plants have very distinct bell-shaped flowers with spotted markings along the petals. Unlike many of the other lilies, flowers from the fritillaria family have an unpleasant odor. Many of these flowers are also poisonous and should be handled with care.

Checker Lily

  • Checker Lily Flowers: The checker lily flower features six scarlet petals with a series of yellow-green spots and yellow stamens.
  • Checker Lily Plants: These plants usually thrive best near the coastal regions and in prairies and wooded areas.


  • Yellowbell Flowers: The flowers of this plant are unmistakeably bell-shaped and of a bright yellow hue, with dark purple lines closer to the base. There is usually just one flower on each stem.
  • Yellowbell Plants: The yellow bell plant is a perennial and its bulb can be eaten raw or cooked.



Lilium plants showcase large, brightly colored flowers, and for this reason, they are quite popular in gardens. The flowers can often be seen in shades of white and yellow, to deeper colors of pink, red, orange and even purple. The petals are usually wide open to prominently display the equally richly-colored stamen. Occasionally the top side of the petals are spotted.

Cascade Lily:

  • Cascade Lily Flowers: Cascade lilies are quite large and feature beautiful white or pale pink petals.
  • Cascade Lily Plant: This lily which grows in mountainous wooded areas was originally named after Martha Washington.

Tiger Lily:

  • Tiger Lily Flowers: The name certainly fits these flowers with their fiercely spotted orange petals and long, dark stamens.
  • Tiger Lily Plants: Tiger lily plants are perennials and feature plenty of leaves and stems with small hairs.


Trilliums produce small, distinct flowers of three to six petals. The plant is acutely damaged if the flower is plucked, and as a result, in many areas of the northern United States and southern Canada, it is illegal to pluck trilliums in protected areas.

Giant Purple Wakerobin

  • Giant Purple Wakerobin Flowers: The Giant Purple Wakerobin sports a strange looking flower with scarlet upright petals.
  • Giant Purple Wakerobin Plants: This plant, also known as the Trillium kurabayashi, has large, dark mottled leaves. They are not plentiful and grow along the coastline from California to Portland.

Small-flowered Trillium

  • Small-flowered Trillium Flowers: These flowers typically have small white petals and a sweet, spicy odor.
  • Small-flowered Trillilum Plants : The small-flowered trillium plant is a perennial and blooms in late spring to early summer.

Western Trillium

  • Western Trillium Flowers: These small flowers have three spread-out white petals and a small yellow center.
  • Western Trillilum Plants: The Western Trillium grows best in moist, shady areas such as forests, under fir trees.

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Lily Calyx is our in-house flower whisperer, an expert on all things botanical and an enthusiastic orchids collector. She loves discussing the insights of the secret world of flowers, shares her gardening tips and hacks and moons over the latest additions to Serenata Flowers flower range. Ask Lily anything about flowers and we can guarantee she will have the answer.

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