How Many of These 10 Unique Lily Varieties Native to Japan Do You Know?

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  • Many people do not know this but Japan is home to many lily varieties. In fact, some people say that it is the best place to find lilies. There are some unique hybrid varieties of lilies found in different regions of Japan that you will surely be interested in. Let’s take a look!

    1. Teppo Yuri (テッポウユリ – Lilium longiforum)

    There are lilies that look like different shapes which make them interesting. For example, there is a lily that grows during spring in Okinawa (沖縄) that resembles a rifle, thus nicknamed as “Teppo Yuri” in Japanese, meaning, “Rifle Lily.” These lilies grow on stems in sunny Kagoshima (鹿児島) very early from March and actually look like trumpets, thus earning them an another name i.e. Trumpet Lily (トランペットユリ).

    2. Oni Yuri (オニユリ – Lilium lancifolium)

    Oni Yuri aka Tiger Lily originated in China and was later brought to Japan for medicinal purposes. Its tincture is used in the treatment of urinary infections, nausea, and other diseases. It is a symbol of wealth according to Hanakotoba (花言葉), a Japanese code of symbolism for flowers.

    Tiger Lilies look big and orange with black spots on them, thus earning them the name “Oni Yuri.” The flowers are so big, usually 10 centimeters long, and they bloom mostly in mid-summer all over Japan. There is a smaller version of the Tiger Lily plant called “Ko-oni Yuri (コオニユリ – Lilium leichtlinii),” which is more fertile and is used as food in Japan.

    3. Kanoko Yuri (カノコユリ – Lilium speciosum)

    If you want to see a lily with a strong fragrance, Kanoko Yuri aka Baby Deer Lily is the one you want to grow in your backyard. The flower looks like deer skin with red spots on it, making it impressive and beautiful. If you want to find this flower, you should head to Makino Botanical Garden (牧野植物園) in Kochi Prefecture (高知県) in July.

    4. Hime Yuri (ヒメユリ – Lilium concolor)

    Hime Yuri aka Princess Lily is grown mostly in high-altitude areas in China, Mongolia, Russia, and Japan. It definitely looks like a beautiful princess with a bright red-orange color and no spots. The stem and other parts of the plant are edible and are consumed in many parts of Japan. The scent of this lily is so popular as it is used by some luxurious perfume brands in Europe.

    5. Sukashi Yuri (スカシユリ – Lilium maculatum)

    Sukashi Yuri or See-Through Lily is a delicate species of hybrid lilies that are grown mainly in Honshu (本州), Japan. This orange flower blooms earlier than many lily species around May. It has petals so soft that you can actually see through them.

    6. Kuruma Yuri (クルマユリ – Lilium medeoloides)

    Kuruma Yuri or Wheel Lilies are wheel-shaped lilies that grow only on the Kuril Islands in Russia, in Hokkaido (北海道) in Japan, Zhejiang in China, and Jeju in Korea. These are orange in color with folded petals that resemble wheels. In China, this flower is used for medicinal purposes but not as a perfume as it is scentless.

    7. Sasa Yuri (ササユリ – Lilium japonicum)

    Sasa Yuri or Bamboo Lily is a type of lily variety that grows in Western Japan in June and July which leaves look like that of bamboo. These pink flowers are considered sacred by all the Japanese religions. There is a dance festival in Nara Prefecture (奈良県), namely Sasayuri Matsuri (ササユリまつり) or Saikusa Matsuri (三枝祭), where these lilies are offered to gods while wishing for good luck, beauty, and health.

    8. Yama Yuri (ヤマユリ – Lilium auratum)

    If you want to see a lily with beautiful golden markings, then you should head to the mountains of Honshu Island in June and July. Known in Japan as Yama Yuri or Mountain Lilies, these super fragrant flowers with bright golden bands and yellow spots grow up to 26 centimeters.

    9. Uke Yuri (ウケユリ – Lilium alexandrae)

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    There is a flower called Uke Yuri that grows only on the Uke Island (請島) in Southern Japan. It usually blooms in July. If you are looking for a rare flower to plant in your backyard, this is the one to go for. It is very exotic and looks enticing.

    10. Otome Yuri (オトメユリ – Lilium rubellum)

    Otome Yuri or Maiden Lily is a tiny lily variety that blooms in early May in Northeastern Japan. With its pink petals and interesting shape, this alpine lily plant will bring charm to your garden.

    These are the 10 unique varieties of lilies that are indigenous to Japan and East Asia in general. Do pick a favorite and start planting them in your garden right now, or pay a visit to your nearest botanical garden to see their beauty in person.