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'L. maritimum' (Lilium species or wild lily)
Rare in nature and even rarer in cultivation because of its near impossible requirements, this lily is native to the coastal areas of Northern California. Found sometimes just above the high tide mark, it grows in sandstone soils that usually flood sometime during the year. The pendant, bell shaped flowers are orange-red in color, blending to yellow and finally green at the top. Photo shown was taken in the native habitat of L. maritimum.
Lightly scented, this species is "protected" by California as being endangered, but we know of one instance where a group of college students risked being jailed, helping their botany professor save a colony from a housing development. They tried to get permits to move the colony by legal means and were denied, and so went in under cover of dark, just days ahead of the heavy equipment and moved everything to a similar, but more remote location. From what we understand, that colony was still thriving some 20 years later. Seeing these lovely little flowers in the wild invokes memories never to be forgotten.
Photo inset #1 is of 'Lilium maritimum' habitat.
Photo inset #2 was donated by Gene Mirro of his L. maritimum in bloom, June of 2012. Thank you Gene.
Wild Lily bulbs making up the genus Lilium belong to the family Liliaceae comprising of approximately 200 genera made up of approximately 2,000 lily species. There are in the neighborhood of 110 to 120 Lilium species depending on whose classification you reference. For the full article, click Knowledge Base