Species Profile

  • A brief introduction to a species will appear below around every three months
  • After reading this short introductory profile you are invited to contribute your experiences and photographs of this species. These contributions will be used to compile a more comprehensive Species Profile which will appear in ‘Lilies & Related Plants’.

Please send your contributions to Mel Herbert at lindmelve@yahoo.co.uk


Lilium taliense Franch.

Pierre Jean Marie Delavay (1834-1895) collected a handful of new taxa of Lilium including L. taliense in the mountains of Yunnan. This he sent back to his friend and colleague in Paris the botanist Adrien René Franchet who described it as a new species in 1892.

Father Delavay was not the only one to collect this lily in Yunnan however, another French priest and missionary Edouard-Ernest Maire was unaware of Delavay’s earlier collection and gathered the plant in August 1910 on Mahong mountain north of Kunming at 2800 m. He sent his specimens to fellow priest and botanist [Augustin Abel] Hector Léveillé who  described the plant as Lilium feddei H.Lév. in 1912.

This graceful turks-cap lily has a white ovoid bulb; scattered linear to linear-lanceolate leaves and  from 2 – 10 pendant flowers per stem which are white suffused with purple speckling especially towards the margins and sometimes with a central purple band towards the base of each segment.  In some forms these are stained towards the base with yellow.

L taliense

This species grows in grassy places from 2500 – 3600 m in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces of western China. It has some affinities with L. tenii H.Lév (L. lijiangense L.J.Peng) and the complicated species complex that is L. primulinum Baker.