genus of plants
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Lilies are flowers within the genus, Lilium, herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere. They comprise a genus of about 110 species in the lily family (Liliaceae). They are important as large showy flowering garden plants. Additionally, they are important culturally and in literature in much of the world. Some species are sometimes grown or harvested for the edible bulbs. The species in this genus are the true lilies. Many other plants exist with "lily" in the common English name, some of which are quite unrelated to the true lilies.

I wish I were the lily's leaf
To fade upon that bosom warm,
Content to wither, pale and brief,
The trophy of thy paler form.
Anna Elizabeth Klumpke, "Among the Lilies" (1909)


  • Manibus date lilia plenis.
    • Give lilies with full hands.
    • Virgil, Aeneid (29–19 BC), Book VI, line 883.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 457-58.
  • I like not lady-slippers,
    Nor yet the sweet-pea blossoms,
    Nor yet the flaky roses,
    Red or white as snow;
    I like the chaliced lilies,
    The heavy Eastern lilies,
    The gorgeous tiger-lilies,
    That in our garden grow.
  • And lilies are still lilies, pulled
    By smutty hands, though spotted from their white.
  • * * * Purple lilies Dante blew
    To a larger bubble with his prophet breath.
  • And lilies white, prepared to touch
    The whitest thought, nor soil it much,
    Of dreamer turned to lover.
  • Very whitely still
    The lilies of our lives may reassure
    Their blossoms from their roots, accessible
    Alone to heavenly dews that drop not fewer;
    Growing straight out of man's reach, on the hill.
    God only, who made us rich, can make us poor.
  • I wish I were the lily's leaf
    To fade upon that bosom warm,
    Content to wither, pale and brief,
    The trophy of thy paler form.
  • And the stately lilies stand
    Fair in the silvery light,
    Like saintly vestals, pale in prayer;
    Their pure breath sanctifies the air,
    As its fragrance fills the night.
  • Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power
    Mightier to reach the soul, in thought's hushed hour,
    Than yours, ye Lilies! chosen thus and graced!
  • The lily is all in white, like a saint,
    And so is no mate for me.
  • We are Lilies fair,
    The flower of virgin light;
    Nature held us forth, and said,
    "Lo! my thoughts of white."
    • Leigh Hunt, Songs and Chorus of the Flowers, Lilies.
  • O lovely lily clean,
    O lily springing green,
    O lily bursting white,
    Dear lily of delight,
    Spring in my heart agen
    That I may flower to men.
  • Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.
    • Matthew. VI. 28.
  • "Look to the lilies how they grow!"
    'Twas thus the Saviour said, that we,
    Even in the simplest flowers that blow,
    God's ever-watchful care might see.
  • For her, the lilies hang their heads and die.
  • Is not this lily pure?
    What fuller can procure
    A white so perfect, spotless clear
    As in this flower doth appear?
  • And the wand-like lily which lifted up,
    As a Mænad, its moonlight-coloured cup,
    Till the fiery star, which is its eye,
    Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky.
  • "Thou wert not, Solomon! in all thy glory
    Array'd," the lilies cry, "in robes like ours;
    How vain your grandeur!
    Ah, how transitory
    Are human flowers!"
  • But who will watch my lilies,
    When their blossoms open white?
    By day the sun shall be sentry,
    And the moon and the stars by night!
    • Bayard Taylor, The Poets' Journal, The Garden of Roses, Stanza 14.
  • But lilies, stolen from grassy mold,
    No more curlèd state unfold,
    Translated to a vase of gold;
    In burning throne though they keep still
    Serenities unthawed and chill.
  • Yet in that bulb, those sapless scales,
    The lily wraps her silver vest,
    Till vernal suns and vernal gales
    Shall kiss once more her fragrant breast.
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