Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lilium pyrenaicum




















Here's a sight that brightened up a dull day at a bleak spot - a large patch of Lilium pyrenaicum, growing on a road verge near the Derwent reservoir (in the background of the photo) on the Durham-Northumberland border.

According to the New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora this handsome lily (which, as the name suggests, is native to the Pyrenees) was introduced into British gardens before 1596 and was first recorded in the wild in 1853. These plants were well away from the nearest gardens and looked like they'd been established for quite a while..... perhaps dumped with garden rubbish or maybe deliberately planted? I've seen this plant growing along the banks of the River Wear near Wolsingham for over 35 years and there are records of it from the Derwentside area in Gordon Graham's Flora and Vegetation of County Durham.






















The orange anthers are particularly striking, as are ...

























... the reflexed tepals and very pungent smell.

12 comments:

  1. What a surreal find!
    This one isn't listed in the IoW flora although there is apparently a solitary Lilium martagon in the woods at Brighstone!

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  2. How lucky to find something so beautiful so unexpectedly!

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  3. They have been there for at least 10 years that I know of and seemed well established then.

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  4. What a magnificent specimen, not something that one would expect to be growing wild.

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  5. Hi Rob.,You quite often see it in old gardens up here, along with the purple-flowered L. martagon (whose bulbs are reputed to be carried around and buried by jays!)

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  6. It was a real surprise lotusleaf - the last plant I would have expected there

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  7. Hi Toffeeapple, wherever I've seen it before in the wild it has just been a few stems - never this many

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  8. Thanks for the info Watty - I must have driven past them dozens of times, but maybe either had my eyes glued to the road or it was the wrong time of year. They seem to be approaching full-flowering at the moment.

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  9. Beautiful discovery!! It's also great that you were able to pinpoint the natural history behind the lily patch as well.

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  10. Gorgeous. I've didn't know they are any garden-escapee naturalised liliums in this country.

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  11. Hi swanscot, the other one is Lilium martagon...

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  12. Hi Kate, I'll be looking out for it every year now...

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