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Gardening with California’s Monocots: Lilies

Articles: Gardening with California’s Monocots: Lilies

This is the second excerpt, adapted with permission from Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses: Gardening With California’s Monocots, edited by Nora Harlow and Kristin Jakob and published in 2004 by University of California Press and the California Native Plants Society.
Throughout history, gardens worldwide have been adorned with lilies. The elegant spires topped with waxy, sometimes fragrant flowers have appeared in perennial borders and as stately subjects of woodland and streamside gardens. Unfortunately, most of the twenty or so species native to California are difficult to grow, and a few have proved impossible in cultivation. Several, however, can be grown in gardens if their cultural requirements are met.

California lilies are architecturally striking plants. The single stem, two to six feet tall or more with tiers of whorled leaves, is topped by showy, often ascending flowers in colors ranging from white to pink, yellow, orange, or red. Habitats in the wild also are varied, from coastal marshes, streams, and damp woods to interior chaparral, dry woods, and mountain meadows. Each species is quite specialized in habitat and cultural requirements, and most are of limited distr...

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