THE TURK'S CAP LILY - Lilium martagon

The Turk's cap lily- Lilium martagon



The Turk's cap lily- Lilium martagon is one of the most popular of all lilies suitable for the garden. It is slow growing, lime tolerant species that is easily grown from seed. Native to a wide area from central Europe east to Mongolia and Korea, this was one of the first lily species to be grown successfully in British gardens.

Lilium martagon
Described by John Gerard in 1596, the common name of 'Turk's Cap Lily' comes from a style of turban adopted by the Turkish ruler, Sultan Mohammed the first. This rather regal turban was known as a martagon and had a pendulous shape similar to that produced by the lily's flower.

John Gerard (1545 – 1611 or 1612) was a botanist and herbalist best known as the author of the heavily illustrated Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes. First published in 1597, it was the most widely circulated botany book in English in the 17th century.

Lilium martagon is a hardy, basal-rooting species that can grow between 3 ft and 7 ft tall. The scented flowers are typically pink-purple, with dark spots, but this can be quite variable, with some individuals producing flowers which extending from near white to near black!

Numerous flowers are borne on each plant, and up to 50 can be found on more vigorous specimens. The tall green stems can also be flushed with purple or red pigments and the leaves are elliptic to inverse lanceolate, mostly in whorls, up to 6 inches long. They are also lightly hairy underneath.

Lilium martagon is best planted in the autumn as dried bulbs at a depth of 4 inches. They can go into any well-drained soil that has been enriched with leaf-mould or well-rotted manure. They will do best on a south facing, slightly sloping site with protection from strong wind. They will preferring full sun to partial shade.

Water freely during the growing season and mulch annually in the spring.

Lilium martagon received the Award of Garden Merit (AGM) from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2002 .

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The Turk's Cap Lily - Lilium martagon
TURK'S CAP LILY - Lilium martagon

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