Lilium regale only grows naturally along a 30-mile stretch of cliffs in the arid Minjiang Valley north of Chengdu in the Hengduan Mountains of Sichuan and was first collected by Ernest Henry "Chinese" Wilson in 1903. In the intervening years it has become the most popular lily in the world. This variety, Lilium regale var. album, is - to my mind - even more beautiful as the purplish-pink colouration on the tepals of the type species has been replaced here with a pure white on both sides of the trumpet. Together with the sulphur yellow throat and the highly fragrant almost-overpowering perfume it is a heady combination for both eye and nose.
Working for James Veitch & Sons, E. H. Wilson had first collected Lilium regale in the Min Valley in 1903 and on his next expedition, which set off in 1907 - this time collecting for the Arnold Arboretum - over 95 percent of the 18,237 lily bulbs he gathered rotted on the return trip to Boston because Wilson did not have them packed in a protective coating of clay. It wasn't until his 1910 expedition did he successfully collect enough material for this superb lily to be subsequently introduced into cultivation and the horticultural market in the United States. It was on this 1910 trip, after marking 6,000 bulbs for lifting, that he famously broke his leg in two places when a landslide swept down on his party as it climbed a narrow path. Narrowly escaping death and the amputation of his badly infected leg, Wilson referred to his subsequent limp as his 'Lily limp'. Of the many plants that Wilson collected it was Lilium regale that he was most proud of having introduced.
The ease of cultivation of Lilium regale, its hardiness and drought-tolerance, its stately regal poise, its tall height, its large elongated funnel-shaped blooms together with its extraordinary sweet scent took the world by storm and although in the intervening century it has served as a parent plant for many trumpet lily hybrids none have ever matched it. Only this natural white variety surpasses the beauty of the type species.
|Geographical Origin||Sichuan, China|
|Cultivation||Full sun in a rich well-drained soil. More tolerant of both dry and wet conditions than most lilies|
THIS OFFER IS VALID ON ALL OUR STORE ITEMS.