Lilies are plants that are prized for their beautiful and fragrant flowers. There are about 100 species of true lily. They belong to a much bigger plant group called the lily family, which contains about 4,000 species. The lily family includes tulips, hyacinths, and the onion. Water lilies are not part of the lily family.
Most true lily plants are about 30 to 120 centimeters tall. They have narrow leaves. The flowers can be shaped like trumpets, funnels, tubes, or bowls. They can be any of a variety of colors.
The water lily, yellow water lily, lotus, and several other aquatic plants are about 60 species of aquatic herbs. These plants occur in shallow, fresh waterbodies and the usual habitats of these plants are ponds and shallow water around lake edges. The leaves are simple, glossy, dark-green and float on the water surface. In most species, the flowers open at dawn, and close at dusk for the night.
The white water lilies are widespread in North America, and have large, roundish leaves. The large flowers are colored white, or rarely pink. The blue water lily has bluish or pale violet flowers. There are about 10 species of yellow water lilies.
The water-shield occurs widely in ponds and shallow waters along lake and pond shores in Americas and Eurasia.
The Oriental sacred lotus and sacred lotus are native species in Asia.
The royal water lily’s floating leaves can be larger than one-meter across, and can support the weight of a child.
A Native American folktale says that the water lily was once a star. It fell from the sky, and when it struck the water, it changed into the beautiful flower.
People often grow water lilies to decorate garden ponds. The French painter Claude Monet is famous for his paintings of water lilies.
Lilies also provide food for fish and other water animals. Frogs like to sit on their leaves.
Sea lily is the least-known animal of the deep oceans. It resembles a plant more than an animal. Sea lilies are related to sea urchins, starfish, and sea cucumbers. The main body has a jointed appearance and may reach up to 70 cm in length. Sea lilies vary in color, but most are delicate shades of yellow, pink, or red.
Lilly pilly is usually a medium-sized to tall tree up to 20 m in height, but is often reduced to a shrub. The foliage is usually very dense and glossy, forming compact crowns.
Lily was an emblem of the royal power in France.
For the Romans, the flower symbolizes luxury, sophistication and wealth. Residents of Germany on the contrary, considered this flower a symbol of death. In Japan, white lily is considered a symbol of luck. This lily is also an integral part of wedding bouquets around the world.