Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Genus: Lilium
Species: L. martagon

TURK'S CAP LILY - Lilium martagon

The Turk's cap lily is a common name given to two separate species of lily namely Lilium martagon and Lilium hansonii. To add to the confusion the Turks cap name is also used for all hybrids and forms derived from these two species. However the Turk's cap common name is most closely associated to Lilium martagon. The species name 'martagon' is a Turkish word which means turban or cap.


Lilium martagon is a slow-growing lime tolerant species with a widespread native region extending from eastern France east through northern Asia to Mongolia and the colder regions of Korea. It is a hardy basal-rooting species which can grow between 3 ft to 7 ft in height. 

The flowers are produced in early summer and colour of the true species is typically a pink-purple with dark spots. However this colouration is extremely variable and can extend from near white to near black. The scented flowers are recurved and between 1 1/4 and 1 1/2 inches long, and although each flower is quite small in comparison to other lily species it more than makes up for it in numbers. In fact more mature, vigorous plants can have as many as 50 blooms on a single flowering stem!

The green stems can also be flushed with purple or red and the leaves are elliptic to inverse lanceolate, mostly in whorls of 6-9 at regular intervals on the stem. Each leaf can up to 7 inches long and is often lightly hairy underneath.

Both Lilium martagon and its white form 'Album' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Lilium martagon 'Album' is a more vigorous, free-flowering form.

For related articles click onto the following link:

How to Grow Canna Lilies  The Foxtail Lily  The Madonna Lily  The Japanese Cobra Lily  The Giant Himalayan Lily

The Japanese Cobra Lily The Stargazer Lily  The Hardy Spider Lily     The Golden Foxtail lily - Eremurus bungei


About the Author

The 'Seeds of Eaden' website is the brainchild of professional horticulturist and multi-award winning gardener Simon Eade. After six years of study; two years 'Retail Horticulture' at Hadlow College, then four years Commercial Horticulture at Greenwich University, Simon has worked in a number of 'fields' within the industry for over twenty years. Most notably, managing the prestigious Alexandra Palace garden centre in London. Since then he has become an internationally published writer, and author of the popular 'Garden of Eaden' blog.

Simon Eade is also a recipient of the Royal Horticultural Society's Banksian medal

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