Gardeners and flower arrangers who are attracted to lilies for their colorful, six-petal blooms and prominent, pollen-topped stamens, can choose from an enormous range of lily-lookalike blooms. Although, according to the North American Lily Society, more than 110 varieties of lilies exist, many other flower varieties mimic lilies and can be easily mistaken for them.
Since tulips are actually members of the same species as lilies, liliaceae, it is not surprising to find a subgroup commonly known as lily-flowered tulips. These are characterized by long, pointed petals that are often "reflexed," or turned back. From above, lily-flowered tulips resemble six-pointed stars. One variety, identified by the Royal Horticultural Society of the United Kingdom, Calochortus pulchellus, is commonly known as the golden star tulip or "pretty-flowered" Mariposa lily. A related variety, Calochortus vestae, is also called a Mariposa lily. Both flowers are common in California.
Nerines, in particular the plant known as Nerine bowdenii, is commonly called a Japanese spider lily or Guernsey Lily, though it is actually a member of the Amaryllidaceae family. A native of South Africa, nerines first came to Europe in a shipwreck on Guernsey in the 17th century. The flowers, with strappy, trumpet-shaped, turned-back petals, come in white and different shades of red and pink. Each stem produces multiple blooms.
Andromeda is an ericaceous plant—a kind of heather—that grows as a shrub. It has glossy, dark green, blade shaped leaves and clusters of bell-shaped flowers that are easily mistaken for lilies of the valley. Although it is sometimes called swamp rosemary, because of its scent, andromeda is a poisonous plant. In parts of Europe and Turkey, where the plant grows wild, poisonings from "mad honey" (made by bees that feed on this plant) are reported every year.
- RHS Horticultural Database: Calochortus pulchellus
- RHS Horticultural Database: Calochortus vestae
- Horticultural Database: Nerine (Amaryllidaceae)
- The Telegraph: Nerines Help Ward Off Autumn
- eFlora.org: Flora of North America--Andromeda
- Websters Online Dictionary: Liliaceae
- North American Lily Society: Culture
Ellen Falconetti has written professionally since 1981. Her work has appeared in major newspapers in England and the U.S.A. as well as on a variety of websites and mobile media. Falconetti specializes in travel, lifestyle, telecoms and technology. She has Bachelor of Science in speech and journalism from Syracuse University and a master's degree in creative writing from a British university.