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Author Topic: Edible Lilium - but which species?  (Read 4806 times)

Stephenb

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Edible Lilium - but which species?
« on: January 13, 2007, 02:53:50 PM »
In spring 2004, I bought some edible Lily bulbs from a supermarket in Singapore (see picture). They were planted in the garden here in Norway and have proven to be hardy and they flowered for the first time this summer. Can anyone help me to identify the species?
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

DaveM

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Re: Edible Lilium - but which species?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2007, 06:51:59 PM »
Hi Stephen

Nice lily, nice photos. My first though was that this looks like L chalcedonicum, a Balkan species that has been cultivated for a very long time - no idea though about whether the bulb is edible. But, checking my photos of this species in Greece show the stigma slightly shorter than the anthers, but similar in other respects.
However, a distinct other possibility and definitely edible species is lilium pomponium, native of southern Europe. I can't find a suitable photo though to check.

Dave
Dave Millward, East Lothian, Scotland

Maggi Young

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Re: Edible Lilium - but which species?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2007, 07:39:49 PM »
Hello, Stephen, I have heard my friend John Amand talk about eating lilly bulbs and scales. These were Chinese and I believe he told me that various types are eaten. I think, however, that the ones you show, grown from your packet of "eating lilies" are most likely to be a form of Lillium davidii; I think L. davidii var wilmottiae. I have heard of other travellers to China having been served these as a meal.
They are rather pretty to eat, though, as you seem to agree, since you are still grwoing them!
« Last Edit: January 13, 2007, 08:31:00 PM by Maggi Young »
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Gene Mirro

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Re: Edible Lilium - but which species?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2007, 12:35:32 AM »
I'd give it a 99% chance of being L. davidi.  L. chalcedonicum and pomponium are too slow-growing to be used as a food crop.  If you collect seed, try germinating it.  If it pops up in two or three weeks, it's davidi.  The European lilies all have delayed germination.  Also, don't worry too much about minor details like color and flower shape.  The Chinese lilies are infinitely variable.

L. davidi is not exotic or rare, but it's a good garden plant.  I have some that are over 16 years old.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2007, 12:38:22 AM by Gene Mirro »
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Stephenb

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Re: Edible Lilium - but which species?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2007, 08:50:44 PM »
Thanks everybody for your help. Had a look at the on-line Flora of China and here it actually states that L. davidii is widely cultivated as a food plant:

http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200027712

L. willmottiae is usually 3-veined and on close study of my pictures, it does seem to be 3-veined, so that's my conclusion so far... I actually planted a few seed plants of L. davidii wilmottiae (from NARGS) in 2004, so it will be interesting to compare the two when it flowers in a couple of years.

I ate half of the packet of edible lily bulbs an excellent they were too, a bit like parsnips (Pastinaca). Most Lilium species have edible bulbs (although some are bitter) and the fresh and dried flowers are also used from some species (such as L. lancifolium) in the same way as Hemerocallis (Day Lilies) - both are called Golden Needles. Native Americans also used lilies, and usually baked them in an earth oven (love to try that one day).

Sorry, but I fully intend to eat these Lilies once they have formed a nice group and can take a bit of grazing:)

Incidentally, can anyone help me with seed/material of Lilium maculatum - considered as the best edible Liliy and a delicacy in China and Japan.

Best regards

Stephen, Malvik, Norway

 
Stephen
Malvik, Norway
Eating my way through the world's 15,000+ edible species
Age: Lower end of the 20-25,000 day range

Gene Mirro

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Re: Edible Lilium - but which species?
« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2007, 10:16:08 PM »
Just google it and you will find some sources.  Or you can join the North American Lily Society.  They haven't sent out their seed list yet.  L. maculatum and davidi are easy to germinate and grow.  If you read Stephen Haw's "The Lilies of China", you will find several pages of information on the cultivation of lilies as food.
Gene Mirro from the magnificent state of Washington

 


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