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Did you know that 15 out of the total of 96 species of lilies in the world are indigenous to Japan? The Japanese have a great love for lilies, and the plants are even thought of as sacred since ancient times.

Now blooming in my garden (see the photo above) is a native lily…… Lilium longiflorum ,(Japanese:テッポウユリ,Teppouyuri) often called the Easter lily found in Japan and the Ryukyu Islands. It is a stem rooting lily, growing up to 1 m high. It bears a number of trumpet shaped, white, fragrant, and outward facing flowers. The variety of it, L. longiflorum var. eximium, native to the Ryukyu Islands is taller and more vigorous and is extensively cultivated as a cut flower. (also sometimes called the Bermuda lily because it has been much cultivated in Bermuda).

Before WWII, most of the Easter lily bulbs arriving in the US were imported from Japan. However, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the supply of bulbs was suddenly cut off, and the Easter lilies became extremely valuable in the United States. (Note: Lilium longiflorum, amongst some other types of lilies, are poisonous to cats.)

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