Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, November - December 2004

Lilium nepalense - Harold McBride

Many peoples’ favourite lily; I consider it to be one of the most beautiful flowers to grace my garden. I am amazed that it does not get a mention in the Encyclopaedia of Alpines !

Phillips and Rix suggest that flower colour may vary from all green to half the flower marked with brown-crimson; all my plants produce flowers that have deep mahogany centres and indeed I have not seen a completely green flower in cultivation.

Lilium nepalense is a native of Nepal, Assam and Northeast India where it grows amongst limestone rocks and bamboos between 2500 – 3500m.

I grow this lily in a bed of rich humus where it spreads by underground creeping stems which often emerge some distance from the flowering plant.

Seen at its best in areas that “enjoy” cool summers with adequate moisture such as Scotland and Northern Ireland, my original bulbs were raised from a seed collection in Nepal in the early 1980’s. It has spread around and I now enjoy 10-12 flowers each year.