Lily, Asiatic Lily, Oriental lily

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Infobox on Lily, Asiatic Lily, Oriental lily
Example of Lily, Asiatic Lily, Oriental lily
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text

Lily, Asiatic Lily, Oriental lily

Description / Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Scientific Name and Introduction

Lilium spp. Lilies have long been popular as garden flowers, prized for their stately beauty, and potted white lilies are a tradition in countries that celebrate Easter or Christmas. The brightly coloured flowers of hybrid lily cultivars have become increasingly popular as cut flowers and have excellent vase-life, especially if pretreated to prevent effects of ethylene. Buds open well if provided with preservative. Lilium is from the Greek word lirion, used in the naming of certain subdivisions of the genus.

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

Lilies are normally cut when one or two buds are just beginning to "crack." Tight-bud stage flowers take some time to open, and petals of open flowers are likely to be damaged during transport. Most species and cultivars should be purchased with colour showing on at least one flower. Avoid bunches with a number of open flowers, since they probably have been held at warmer temperatures during marketing.

Grading and Bunching

Although there are no grade standards for lilies, the number of buds per stem, the stage of maturity, and the colour and quality of the foliage are all important quality parameters. Flowers are normally bunched in groups of 5 or 10.

Ethylene Sensitivity

Exposure of lilies to ethylene results in petal abscission, leaf yellowing, and abortion of young buds.


After harvest, lilies should be treated with STS or 1-MCP to extend their vase-life.Pulsing with a preservative solution containing 10% sucrose can improve subsequent bud opening, and it is also possible to reduce postharvest leaf yellowing in susceptible cultivars by pre-treating them overnight with 2000 ppm GA3.

Storage Conditions

Lilies should be stored at 0°C to 1ºC. If flowers are to be stored for any length of time, they should be treated prior to storage with STS or 1-MCP and an appropriate fungicide, the latter to protect against Botrytis. Lilies can be stored for up to 4 weeks if they are pulsed for 24 h with 1,6 mM STS + 10% sucrose and then stored dry at 1ºC. Flowers should be properly pre-cooled, and they must be packaged so that water loss during storage is minimized (wrap pre-cooled flowers in polyethylene film). However, some problems with leaf browning and/or yellowing can occur even after 2 weeks storage.


Lilies are normally packed in horizontal fibreboard boxes.

Special Considerations

Proper cultivar selection and the use of anti-yellowing postharvest chemical treatments (available commercially in some markets) can diminish leaf yellowing. STS or 1-MCP only reduce leaf yellowing caused by exposure to ethylene. Lily pollen can stain almost anything; removing stamens containing the pollen does not affect flower life. Some new cultivars do not shed pollen.

Sources used
BMT Consolidated Manual on (Dutch) Flower Bulbs, cut flowers/greens and potted plants.