Although first discovered in 1888 by Delavay in north-western Yunnan, where it is to be found at an altitude of 10,000 feet among rocks and on stony mountain meadows, it was not introduced into cultivation until
1946, and then by the plant collector Dr J. F. Rock. Soon afterwards it flowered in both England and the United States.
The bulb is about I£ inches high and has lanceolate scales; the, which first grows underground and eventually rises through the surface to a height of 2 feet, bears numerous linear and carries one to three . They are scented, of shiny dark-purple bordering on black, strongly reflexed – the inner petals more so – giving the appearance of a triangular outline. Brown stamens, orange pollen, during August.
An interesting but apparently difficult lily to grow. Related to L. daviiii. (RHS-LYB 1949)