Culturally important, lilies are a large flower that grows from bulbs, making it the ideal addition to any garden whose cultivator wants a showy display. For many people, lilies are the perfect flower to usher in a new season of rebirth and joy. Often presented as gifts for Easter, lilies are a popular way for many religious organizations with Christian roots to decorate their places of worship during this period of time. Also known as the Madonna Lily, the well-known Easter lily blooms in white only.
While the lily has been cultivated for many than three thousand years, its uses have been varied, ranging from the practical in ancient times to the primarily aesthetic uses of today. Both Europeans and the Chinese used the plant for medicinal applications throughout history, and it has been shown to have a positive effect on both depression and counteracting the effects of ingesting toxins. Today, however, most people appreciate lilies in ways that are more symbolic.
In the past, the Greeks used lilies to symbolize tenderness while it came to be known as a symbol of purity for Christians. In addition, many Christians feel that a lily symbolizes the three virtues of hope, faith and charity due to its three-leaf design. It is also a popular way to celebrate new motherhood as well as new unions between a couple.
Today, the lily is the fourth most popular flower in the world with about 110 species in a range of colors, While white is the most commonly recognized color, they come in many different colors, both soft pastels and brightly colored hues. Caring for lilies involves an ample amount of water so that they develop the root system necessary to sustain themselves for the long term.
In addition to being known as the May birth flower, lilies are also known as the flower associated with a 30th year anniversary. Lilies should not be confused with lily of the valley. Lily of the valley flowers are small, bell-shaped and grow in dangling clusters from a single stalk, a far cry from the elegance of the classic lily.