Thursday, June 19, 2008

orange lilies

This is a favorite lily of mine, the recurving petals are often called "Turks cap" lily because they resemble the large Turkish turban with a finial in the center worn in the Ottoman Empire's court of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent 1520-1566. He was over six feet tall and liked a big turban built up over a long cone finial set on the crown of the head. Washington DC had a major showing of his court's costumes back in Jan. 2005-2006 at the Sackler Asian Arts Museum. I found an interactive web gallery for that show called Style and Status here... where you can see one of the woodcuts I drew my sketches of Turk's caps and the beautifully crafted silk brocade finials that winter. This lily is called Lilium davidii an heirloom species which is orange with small black spots recurved petals and long anthers which host a vivid red pollen. I found out how red the pollen is today when I was making these photos one brushed against the back of my hand and left it's pollen powder all over the back of my hand. I blew it off easily but I warn anyone who has lilies in the house, if you spill the pollen don't wet it or it will stain fabrics, instead dust it off as much as you can before you wash any pollen spills. My tip for today. I used to call these tiger lilies because that was what my grand parents called the orange day lily that grows everywhere in the country of the appalachian mountains almost wild. I knew tiger lily by the black spots on the orange petals so for me that made every orange lily with black spots a tiger until I started studying flowers more closely.
When I did a google image search for tiger lily, every orange lily imaginable comes up labeled as a tiger lily so everyone knows what you mean when you say tiger lily but few know the refined latin name of wild lilium davidii. I feel lucky to have two in my garden but I didn't know they would be so short and so delicate. Maybe if the are moved to a less crowded spot with more sun they will grow bigger. 

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