Lilium longiflorum, (Japanese:テッポウユリ, Teppouyuri) often called the Easter lily or November lily, is a plant endemic to the Ryukyu Islands (Japan). Lillium formosana, a closely related species from Taiwan, has been treated as a variety of Easter lily in the past. It is a stem rooting lily, growing up to 1 m high. It bears a number of trumpet shaped, white, fragrant, and outward facing flowers.
A variety of it, L. longiflorum var. eximium, native to the Ryukyu Islands, is taller and more vigorous. It is extensively cultivated for cut flowers. It has irregular blooming periods in nature, and this is exploited in cultivation, allowing it to be forced for flowering at particular periods, such as Easter. However, it can be induced to flower over a much wider period. This variety is sometimes called the Bermuda lily because it has been much cultivated in Bermuda.
From the 1890s to the early 1920s, there was a thriving export trade of bulbs from Bermuda to New York. A disease affected the Bermuda lilies: this was identified by Lawrence Ogilvie. In 1903, USDA Agricultural Research Services (ARS) started to distribute disease free plant materials and seeds. The agency also started a breeding program, and released one of the first dwarf cultivars for potted-plant production in 1929, followed by Bellingham Series in 1932, and Potomac Series in 1953. Prior to USDA's effort, lily bulbs in general were largely imported from Japan before 1940s. The supply of bulbs was suddenly cut off after the attack on Pearl Harbor and Easter lilies became extremely valuable in the United States.
The Easter lily is a rich source of steroidal glycosides. It also contains bitter principles such as 3,6′-diferuloylsucrose.
Further reading 
- Vidali, Luis; Hepler, Peter K. (1997). "Characterization and localization of profilin in pollen grains and tubes ofLilium longiflorum". Cell Motility and the Cytoskeleton 36 (4): 323–338. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0169(1997)36:4<323::AID-CM3>3.0.CO;2-6. ISSN 0886-1544.
- Holm, Preben Bach (1977). "Three-dimensional reconstruction of chromosome pairing during the zygotene stage of meiosis in Lilium longiflorum (thunb.)". Carlsberg Research Communications 42 (2): 103–151. doi:10.1007/BF02906489. ISSN 0105-1938.
- Reiss, Hans-Dieter; Herth, Werner (1979). "Calcium ionophore A 23187 affects localized wall secretion in the tip region of pollen tubes of Lilium longiflorum". Planta 145 (3): 225–232. doi:10.1007/BF00454445. ISSN 0032-0935.
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