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Source: NALS Judging Handbook, Let’s Grow Lilies

Artwork: Virginia Howie

The stem, sometimes called the stalk, varies greatly in height and sturdiness, according to the variety. The leaves in most species are arranged on the stem alternately (sometimes giving a spiral appearance) or in whorls. For the most part, the leaves are narrow, varying from grass‑like in some species to short and/or broad in others.



WHORL - A ring of leaves arising at the same level on a stem; typical of L. martagon and most native American species.
In some species small, bulb like structures are produced in the axils of the leaves. These are called bulbils and are a natural method of propagation and close‑by dissemination.


AXIL (of leaf) -  Angle between upper leaf surface and stem.

BULBIL - Aerial bulbs born above ground in Axils of the leaves. (i.e. L. tigrinum, L. bulbiferum)

PETIOLE - The stalk of a leaf. Some species (L.auratum, and L. speciosum) have quite pronounced petioles.


Sometimes the stem may be flattened and thickened toward the top and in severe cases may interfere with the normal arrangement of the flowers. This condition is known as fasciation. Its cause has not been completely established but it appears to be associated with the nutrient level, soil moisture, or other cultural conditions. It also appears that there is an inherited tendency for greater susceptibility to fasciation among some species and cultivars.

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