Flowers are truly among nature’s most stunning creations, with the lily being a notable standout. Known for its delicate petals and elegant shape, this flower has long been a favorite. Yet, there’s a whole world of flowers that look like lilies, waiting to be explored.
From the yellow star-of-Bethlehem to the towering giant Himalayan lilies and vibrant Scarborough lilies, these flowers may not be true lilies. However, their similar features make them just as captivating.
In this article, we’ll discover what makes a flower resemble a lily. We’ll also journey through different types of flowers that mirror the classic lily bloom. These include the serene Easter lilies, the exotic trumpet lilies, and the fiery Asiatic lilies.
Whether you’re after the perfect cut flower or an easy-to-grow plant for your garden, there’s a lily look-alike for you. So, let’s delve into the world of flowers that look like lilies.
The Lily Lookalikes: Flowers That Resemble Lilies
There are many flowers that closely resemble the true lily plant. Let’s explore some of these fascinating plants:
Gagea lutea – Yellow Star-of-Bethlehem
This petite gem, akin to small lilies, boasts six yellow tepals arranged around its center, mimicking the classic lily look. Its size is smaller and lacks the fragrance associated with many lily varieties, such as the fragrant Oriental lilies.
Erythronium and its Lily-like Appearance
Erythroniums, sometimes called “Dog-toothed Violets,” belong to the family Colchicaceae. Their mottled leaves bear an uncanny resemblance to canine teeth marks. The flowers, similar to miniature lilies, have six petals and prominent stamens and pistils, often marked by contrasting color blotches. They are not unlike lily bulbs flowering into beautiful blooms.
Cardiocrinum Giganteum: Giant Himalayan Lily
This plant is a striking example of the larger species of lilies. Growing up to 12 feet tall, it’s one of the largest among all ‘lily-lookalike’ plants. This plant produces huge, fragrant trumpet-shaped blooms, similar to the classic trumpet lily. It’s native to regions like Bhutan, Tibet, Nepal, and more, proving that lilies come in various forms worldwide.
Tricyrtis (Toad-Lily): A Unique Flower That Looks Like a Lily
Toad-lilies, with their unique, star-shaped blossoms, could be considered alternative flowers to traditional lilies. Blooming late in the summer through the fall, they offer a variety of colors, from white flowers to pink and purple ones. These plants can grow well in many soil types and are easy to care for, much like other lily species. Their spotted or striped petals are a characteristic feature that sets them apart, offering a colorful addition to any garden.
Hesperocallis undulata: The Desert Lily
This plant, native to the Southwestern United States and Mexico, produces large white blooms. These closely resemble lilies, earning it a place among lily lookalikes. However, its leaves differ significantly from true lilies.
Ixiolirion tataricum And Its Lily-like Beauty
This perennial bulbous plant belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It has a similar floral structure to true lilies. The star-shaped flowers have six waxy petals arranged around a central axis, giving them a trumpet-like shape. They bloom from late spring through early summer in shades of pale blue, pink, and lavender.
Watsonia: A Lily Impersonator
Watsonia’s native habitats include Southern Africa. These plants produce spikes bearing dozens of small, tubular-shaped blossoms. These flowers resemble lilies in both appearance and fragrance.
Hemerocallis Flava (Yellow Daylily): A Lily Lookalike In Yellow
Daylilies belong to the Xanthorrhoeaceae family. Each blossom only lasts for a day before falling off, hence the name ‘day-lily’. However, they can produce hundreds of blooms during the flowering season. This specific variety bears yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, much like Liliums do.
Vallota (Scarborough-Lily): A South African Lily Doppelganger
These gorgeous red-orange trumpets are sometimes referred to as Scarborough lilies due to their resemblance to lilies. Their broad strap-like foliage makes an attractive contrast against the vividly colored blooms.
Eucharis Amazonica: A Tropical Flower That Looks Like a Lily
Eucharis amazonica, also known as Amazonian lily, is native to tropical rainforest regions in Columbia, Peru, and Brazil. Its fragrant funnel-shaped waxy-white flowers often have green or yellow stripes. These flowers are similar to lilies in shape and structure, but their foliage is different.
Alstroemeria: The Peruvian Lily
Also known as the ‘Peruvian lily’, these charming plants produce clusters of blooms atop sturdy stems during late spring through summer. They come in various colors, including pink, orange, and yellow. Their petals often have dark markings.
Amaryllis: The Belladonna Lily
Amaryllis belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Some of its features resemble true lilies, such as trumpet-shaped flowers and long stamens protruding from the center. However, they differ in the number of tepals (5-6) compared to the six found in lilies.
True lilies usually have large fleshy bulbs and narrow lanceolate leaves arranged spirally along the stem. Their trumpet-shaped flowers have distinctively long stamens tipped with pollen sacs.
Most “lily-like” plants require well-drained soil, adequate sunlight, and watering for healthy growth. However, the specific needs may vary based on their native habitat requirements.
Daylilies belong to the Asphodelaceae family, while true lilies fall under the Liliaceae group. The difference lies primarily due to variation in leaf arrangement, number of tepals per flower, bulb size, etc.
Flowers that look like lilies can be found across the globe, from South Africa to the Himalayas, and from the Andes Mountains to Columbia, Peru, Brazil, the United States, Europe, and Asia. While some might share many characteristics with true lilies, others bear only a slight resemblance. Yet, each one possesses a unique beauty worth appreciating.
Remember, while these flowers may look like lilies, they are unique in their own right. They add a touch of the exotic and unusual to our gardens, brightening up our landscapes with their beautiful blooms. So, why not take a chance on these lily lookalikes? You might just find a new favorite flower among them.