Lilies are one of the most popular flowers in the world and come in an astounding number of varieties, colors, shapes, and sizes. Due to crossbreeding and hybridization, colorful combinations of the best of two different species are created. To keep the abundance of lily types somewhat organized, 9 divisions, or categories, have been created to help sort them out. Check out the below different classes of lilies and some of the most beautiful examples of each.
In Greek mythology, the lily symbolizes Hera, who is the Greek Goddess of Love and Marriage which is why it is a popular flower in marriages. The story goes that drops of her breastmilk created the Milky Way and a few droplets that fell to earth sprouted fields of lilies. In Christianity, the lily is associated with the Virgin Mary as a symbol of her purity and chastity, while the Easter lily a symbol of Christ’s resurrection.
Due to the vast variety and colors, there are different meanings for different types of lilies. In general, though, these amazing blooms embody purity, fertility, beauty, royalty, sophistication, grace, and rebirth. For more color-specific symbolism, check out the following:
- White Lilies symbolize purity, innocence, modesty, and grace.
- Yellow Lilies symbolize happiness, good health, gratitude, and healing.
- Light Pink Lilies symbolize elegance, femininity, and generosity.
- Dark Pink Lilies symbolize prosperity, abundance, and ambition.
- Red Lilies symbolize passion, desire, and romance.
- Orange Lilies symbolize confidence, encouragement, and wealth.
Basic Lily Facts
There are flowers that have a lily name, such as Calla lily, Daylily, or Water lily, but these are not “true lilies.” Only lilies which are part of the genus Lilium are known as true lilies and they are easily identifiable as they all have six petals and six anthers, which is the part that contains pollen. Lilies typically have large blooms and come in a wide range of nearly every color. Some lilies are extremely fragrant, while others have no scent at all.
Lilies have been revered in many cultures throughout history and is often associated with royalty. Other common meanings attributed to the lily is purity, grace, fertility, and rebirth. Lilies have a certain regal-ness and purity about them which makes them a common feature in important ceremonies such as weddings, celebrations, and coronations.
Lily Classifications & Examples
Pink Pixie Lilies
Division 1: Asiatic Hybrid – Most popular lilies in the world. Come in almost every color but have little to no scent. Attractive and long-lasting. (Tango, Forever Susan, Orange Pixie Lily, Elodie Lily, Lollipop)
Turk’s Cap Lily
Division 2: Martagon Hybrid – Dramatic, visually interesting, producing many small dainty downward-facing blossoms. Flowers can be numerous 40-50 per stem and strikingly colored. (Turk’s Cap)
Division 3: Candidum Hybrid – famous for the Madonna lily that has a lovely fragrance white flowers and a yellow base. Up to 20 blossoms per stem. (Madonna)
Division 4: American Hybrid – Includes hybrids of wild lilies in North America. (Tiger Lily)
Division 5: Longiflorum Hybrid – Easter lily and hybrids are with elegant pure white and trumpet-shaped. Bloom during Easter. (Easter Lily)
African Queen Lily
Division 6: Trumpet and Aurelian Hybrids – Tall and elegant with fragrant flowers with stunning trumpet-shaped flowers. Popular Cut Flowers, lush, large trumpet-shaped flowers and heady sweet fragrance. (African Queen)
Division 7: Oriental Hybrid – Known for large, robust, upright flowers. Flowers that fall in this class have large blooms and great scents. Strong, enchanting fragrance. (Stargazer, Casablanca, Acapulco Lily)
Orange LA Hybrid Lily
Division 8: Interdivisional Hybrids – hybrids of the previous seven divisions.
Wild Yellow and Red Lily
Division 9: Species – pure, wild “parents” of the previous 8 hybrids. Wild lilies that are the ancestors to all of the other classes.Natural and delicate beauty. Charming.
The Purest Flower
Now that you are more aware of the amazing diversity of lilies, you can pick out the perfect types for yourself or for your loved ones – there’s so many to choose from! Here at Al’s Florist we have a wonderful selection of lilies and other flowers to choose from for whenever you want to brighten someone’s day or lift their spirits.