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.
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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.