Native in south-eastern Tibet, where it grows in the Tsangpo valley (continuation of the Brahmaputra valley), and in the Lohit valley northwest and north-east of Sadiya, Assam; also near the source of the River Lohit near Rima, at heights of 5,000-10,000 feet among thickets, conifers and on rocky cliffs in dry situations. It grows so profusely in this region that the air is filled with its scent. First discovered in 1924 by Frank Kingdon Ward, after whom it is named.
The 2-inch diameter bulb is in the form of a flat sphere and finely spotted with red. The undergroundforms bulblets on the intcr-nodes before rising through the surface to a height of 5 feet and exposing its purple exterior and numerous scattered, lanceolate , dark-green in colour, oblong-elliptic in shape, 3-veined, and about l inches long. There are up to 40 Martagon-typc, deep-pink , spotted with dull carmine, and carried in racemose inflorescence. This lily grows well in England, particularly if placed in half-shade in loam soils enriched in -mould. Reports from Transvaal maintain that it only flourishes if planted under conifers and where it automatically obtains the surface cover of fir-tree needles so essential to its well-being. (RIIS-LYB 1951-52, 1963)