Wild Lily: L. maritimum Kellogg 1875

A small-flowcred lily from mid-California (Mendocino and Sonoma Counties) growing along the coast from San Francisco to Fort Bragg on sand and sandstone soils, at about sea level, and used to being flooded.

Small rhizomatous bulb; stem 20 inches-4 feet; one to eight small, bell-shaped, dark-orange flowers. Very difficult in cultivation on account of the near-1mpossible growing conditions it requires, (NALS-LYB 1958)

L. martagon Linnaeus 1753, Turk’s Cap Lily

Spread throughout most of Europe and parts of Asia, from the River Rhone in the west to the east of Lake Baykal in Siberia, but avoiding the Siberian Plain. It extends from the 59th Parallel in the north, with the exception of the German lowlands, as far south as the Po valley, Dalmatia, northern Greece and the Hungarian plain. It is found at elevations of 8,000 feet in the northern and southern Alps, likes calcareous soils, beech woods and meadow margins, and only grows in areas undisturbed by agricultural activity and grazing cattle. On the whole, these situations offer good drainage, but even then this lily is also found on moraine, through which water constantlv percolates.

The bulb is round and yellow, with numerous pointed scales; the round stem, with dark markings, rises vertically, and usually has only one whorl of spatulate leaves, the rest scattered. It reaches a height of 2-4 feet, and bears three to 12 blooms – but up to 50 flowers and a height of 6 feet is more usual if grown in cultivation. The flower buds are so hairy that they appear to be covered with ‘white wool’. The colour of the flowers is variable and depends on location; in the lowlands they are mostly of a light or brown-tinged pink, among mountains a strong, dark, not very clear carmine. The brown-violet spotting is also extremely variable. Some blooms, even if growing within the same location, show no spotting at all, while others are spotted only along the centre of the tepals and others still are heavily speckled over the whole of the segments. The pendulous flowers have fleshy, strongly recurved petals with nectary furrows at the base. The stamens protrude very noticeably from the flower; the pollen is brown-yellow. The style is longer than the stamens, the stigma is dark-red, and the seed capsules are largish-round with angular edges. The light brown-coloured seeds germinate slowly, but if sown immediately after being harvested they usually germinate quickly, although the first leaf only appears after several months of cool conditions. Easily raised and maintained in fertile gardens, particularly if located under light shade of trees, where it can produce self-sown plants.

L. martagon var. albiflorum has white flowers with carmine-pink speckles; occasionally found growing wild.

L. martagon var. album produces pure-white flowers, usually a little larger and more vigorous than type. Very pretty, particularly if positioned in front of dark-green evergreens. Breeds true from its light-coloured seeds.

L. martagon var. cattaniae comes from Dalmatia (whence the old name var. dalmaticum). A spectacularly beautiful lily with a large number of dark wine-red, unspotted blooms.

L. martagon var. hirsutum. Both the stem and undersides of the leaves are thickly covered with white, cobwebby hairs. Southern Alps.

L. martagon var. pilositisculum. A geographical race with smaller leaves from the Urals and also Siberia, Angara, the Lena region, and Mongolia. Stems, pedicels, buds, and flowers are covered with woolly hairs.

L. martagon var. daugava (syn. var. koknese) has been described from Russia and Latvia and grows on the banks of the River Daugava between Kokncsc and Plavinas. Several features distinguish it from typicum: its taller growth (up to 6 feet 6 inches); short hairs on the stem; and broader leaves (up to 2 inches). The three to io blooms have spotted, strongly recurved, light-purple segments, with a few red hairs. Contrary to type, the seed germinates immediately.

Both white and wine-red forms of L. martagon have been crossed with L. hansonii (L. x marhan, L. x dalhansonii). It crosses successfully with L. pumilum and L. medeoloides, and also, according to C. Bonstedt, with L. umbellatnm.

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