Wild Lily: L. politician K. Koch 1849

Distributed along the south coast of the Black Sea, at Trabzon on the Zigana pass in Turkey and above Artvin, and at Batum in Russia. Grows at altitudes of 6,000-7,500 feet, usually on cliffs and grassy slopes and also above the tree-line.

The small conical bulbs, 1-3 inches in diameter, have few scales. One to three flowers, occasionally up to 12, on a stem 15-30 inches long with short but broad lanceolate leaves, ciliate at edges, giving the appearance of silver margins; hairy along veins on undersides of leaves.

The Martagon-type flowers, diameter ii-1-2- inches, are similar to those of L. pyrenaicum, without hairs, and range from pale to deep-yellow and orange with heavily spotted throat which is often without markings and solely purple. The perianth has an outer flushing of purple, the pollen is orange, the smell is strong and unpleasant; freshly harvested seeds germinate immediately. (Illustrated in IUIS-LYB 1964.)

There is yet another unnamed lily in the Trabzon region, first found by E. K. Balls in 1930 and which has been classified withL. politician and wrongly described as such in Lilies of the World by ‘Woodcock and Stearn. Compared with L. politician it has very large lanceolate leaves, thickly covered with hair, and comparatively small flowers. (RHS-LYB 1964, 1966, Furse)

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