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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - August 27, 2006

From: Oegstgeest/NL, Other
Region: Other
Topic: General Botany, Plant Identification
Title: Books on Lilies
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Sir, I am looking for a book covering the Lily Family as a whole, i.e., it should preferably also discuss other Genera than Lilium only. I am especially interested in Lily members occurring in the wild, such as those belonging to the genera Lilium, Maianthemum, Polygonatum, Smilacina, Trillium, Uvularia, Veratrum, etc. Thank you very much in advance for your help. P.S. I own Lady Bird Johnson's book: Wildflowers across America - a very beautiful book!

ANSWER:

If you are looking for identification guides for lily species, you will need to find regional guides. There are many excellent guides for North America. Generally, they cover the most commonly encountered species in various families of flowering plants of the area. However, you can find some that are narrower in focus, such as Flowering Plants: Lilies to Orchids (Illustrated Flora of Illinois). Since, I believe, you are in the Netherlands, you may perhaps be looking for European identification guides. Since our focus and expertise is in plants native to North America, we can't really offer you any recommendations for guides to European species; however, if you are interested in North American species, our Native Plant Bibliography offers regional lists of plant books.

For a more scholarly technical treatment of the Family Liliaceae and related families, you might be able to locate a library copy of The Families of the Monocotyledons: Structure, Evolution, and Taxonomy by R. M. T. Dahlgren et al. Springer, 1985. For an online treatment of the Family Liliaceae, with a dichotomous key, see Flora of North America. You will also find links to other online Flora there, such as Flora of China.

Three recent publications offered by Amazon.com which may be of interest are: 1. Lilies by Pamela McGeorge, Firefly Press, 2004; 2. Lilies: A Guide for Growers and Collectors by Edward A. McRae, Timber Press. 1998; and 3. The Gardener's Guide to Growing Lilies by Michael Jefferson-Brown, Timber Press, 2002.

You might also like to visit the North American Lily Society web page.

 

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