world, 15 species are indigenous to Japan. The Japanese have
been fond of lilies and sometimes regarded them as sacred plants.
YURI, the Japanese word for depicting lily, comes from the old
Japanese word YURU that means "swing". It seems that ancient
people named the plant after the sight of its flowers swinging in
the wind. The Japanese often use YURI as a girl's name, and
sometimes add SA to become SAYURI. This SA means "sacred"
in old Japanese. Lilies were sacred plants in ancient times. There
is a festival called SAIKUSA MATSURI (SAIKUSA = old name of
SASAYURI, Lilium japonicum, MATSURI = festival) in Nara
Prefecture. Here, four maidens have a dance performance for
the gods holding the flowers of Lilium japonicum. This festival has
continued since early 8th century.
period (1603-1867), as 37 cultivars were introduced in KADAN
CHIKIN SHO (botanical book written by the gardener, Ihei Itoh in
1695 ). The famous botanist Dr. Phillip von Siebold took many
Japanese lily bulbs (Lilium longiforum, Lilium speciosum, Lilium
maculatum etc.) including Japanese cultivars to Europe in 19th
century. After the Meiji period (1868-1912), Japanese lily bulbs
became one of the popular exports to western countries. Since
then, continuous efforts have been undertaken to breed unusual
lily hybrids. The famous cultivars "Casa Blanca"(bred in New
Zealand) is very appreciated by the Japanese nowadays, but
most of us do not know the fact that this cultivars was bred by
hybridizing Japanese species (Lilium auratum, Lilium japonicum
and Lilium maculatum etc.).
Japanese name is TEPPO YURI meaning, "rifle lily" because the
flower shape looks like a rifle. The height is 60-80cm, and it grows
in the sunny seaside of Southern Japan (KAGOSHIMA, OKINAWA
Prefecture), blooming in March - July.
bamboo lily", because the leaf shape looks like a bamboo leaf.
The height is 100 cm, its flower is pink, and it grows in the
mountainous area of West Japan, blooming in June - July.
lily", indicative of the tiny shape of the plant. The height is 50-60
cm, its flower is pink, it blooms in May, and grows in the
mountainous area of the northeast Japan.
habitat is the UKE island of KAGOSHIMA Prefecture (South
Japan). The height is 50 cm - 60 cm, its flower is white, and it
blooms in July.
KAGOSHIMA Prefecture (South Japan), it bears an upright flower
which is white and it blooms in July.
is YAMA YURI (= mountain lily) and it is the most common lily in
Japan (HONSHU island), with 20-26 cm fragrant white flowers with
yellow spots. It grows in grasslands or mountains and blooms in
June - July. The height is 100-200cm.
be a variant of Lilium auratum, but has no spots on its petals. The
flower is at most 30cm, with very strong fragrance.
through" lily) because the petals are separated at its base and
we can see through them. The orange, upright flower is 14-15cm,
it blooms in May - July, the height is 50-60cm, and it is one of
the main parents of "Asiatic hybrids". Its habitat is HONSHU
island and along side Lilium auratum, is very common.
habitat is Hokkaido island (Northeast area of Japan).
YURI (= princess lily) because the flower is tiny and pretty. The
tiny upright orange flower is 4.5 - 7 cm, it blooms in June-July
and grows all over Japan. The height is 50-100cm.
KANOKO YURI (= baby deer lily) because there are red spots on
pinkish petals that look like deer's skin. The petals are well rolled
and the flower looks like a ball, it blooms in July-August, and is
the latest flower of all the species. With the height is 50-150cm,
it is a very stout plant.
KURUMA YURI (= wheel lily) because the leaves are shown in a
radial pattern from the stem like a wheel. The small orange flower
is pendulous and the petals are well rolled. The habitat is the high
mountainous areas of Northern Japan.
YURI. ONI means a Japanese demon that has a red face and a
big body. The pendulous orange flowers (10cm) with black spots
bloom in July-August, its height is 80 - 180cm and it grows all
over Japan. This plant is sterile but it multiplies by small bulbs at
the base of the leaves. There is a fertile type of this species in
China. It is said that this plant was brought to Japan as a
vegetable in old times because we boil the bulbs and eat them.
YURI (small ONIYURI), the plant and flower is similar to Lilium
lancifolium, but the total form is smaller. This plant is fertile and
does not bear small bulbs. This plant is also utilized as a
SUGE YURI (= pampas grass lily) because the total form with thin
leaves looks like pampas grass. The small flower (3-4cm, yellow-
red) is pendulous and it grows in Southern Japan.
The background of this page is a traditional pattern
for KIMONO (Japanese costume)