asiatics vs oriental

drcntyaah(z5 WI)August 4, 2007

Could someone please tell me specifically what the difference is between an asiatic and an oriental lily.

I have turks caps, stargazers and lots of others I don't know the names of. They have two very distinct leaf patterns. One kind has long, thin, drooping leaves, the other has leaves on the flower stalk.

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All true Lilies (genus Lilium) including Orientals and Asiatics have leaves on the flower stalks. The plants with long drooping leaves might be a Daylily ( genus Hemerocallis). You can find a lot of info about true Lily types here and here.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 4:51PM
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Maybe I'm misunderstanding your question. I'm not sure how they differentiate taxonomically between the different lily species, but for my purposes, they are segregated by bloom time and fragrance.

The Trumpet lilies typically bloom first - that would be like L. Regale and the Easter Lily - whatever its real name is. Around the same time or just after are the Tiger lilies which have spotted flowers, shorter leaves and are more narrow plants. There are dwarf container tiger lilies also - most tigers come in the orange/red/yellow spectrum.

In mid-June the Asiatics start, which are for the most part fragrance-free. Asiatics typically do not have a recurved bloom, and come in all colors. The Asiatics don't have as complicated a flower structure as the Orientals and the stamens are not as prominent.

The Orientals follow next which would include Stargazer, well known ones like Casa Blanca and come in more rich colors I think. They are heavily perfumed.

Someone has hybridized a group of lilies called Orienpets which combined Trumpet lilies with Orientals - the Orientals are typically very open faced, almost flat, whereas the Trumpets are very literally trumpet shaped. The Orientpets have become popular and are often very tall and heavily scented. Someone else started a thread on this forum with pics of Scheherezade - thats an Orienpet I think.

The turks cap you mentioned might be a Martagon, which is considered a turks cap type lily. There are other species liles that have the turks cap shape. I'm waiting on my martagon to bloom so can't comment from personal experience.

It seems the species lilies bloom last. I'm including L. Black Beauty which is in full bloom now and is about 6.5 ft tall with 38 blooms per stalk this yr. The buds on Lilium speciosum Rubra and Alba are still 2 weeks+ away from opening and look like they will last till at least the end of August.

So you can have lilies in bloom in my zone 5 area from around the first of June till mid to end of August.

Now if they would develop a lily that repelled deer I'd be all set.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 4:59PM
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hld6(z7 MD)

Hi drcntyaah,

Different types of lilies may have very different leaf patterns. They also have different bloom carriage, as well as bloom shape, time, and fragrance.

All lily leaves are relatively long and slender (compared to other plants). While the leaf patterns of Asiatics, Orientals, Longiflorum, and Trumpets, are similiar (all along the stem), Asiatics and Trumpets tend to have a larger number of skinnier leaves than Longiflorums and Orientals. Some of them (such as my Davidii) look down right "Dr. Seuss like" especially early on - like they have "tufts".

Asiatics also have a distinctive bloom carriage. The stems of each bloom curve upward radiating from the same point like an upside down umbrella, called an "Umbel". By constrast, Orientals have bloom stems that come off the main stalk at different points near the top. From each of these will come a bud (or more if it has secondary buds) and a leaf (in addition to those along the main stem).

Martagon, along with many North American species, has whorls of leaves collared around the stem at several points. Martagons bloom has a "turk's cap" shape. "Turk's cap" is a common name used most frequently for two species, Martagon and Superbum (AKA "American Turk's Cap"), but more properly it is a phrase referring to any downward facing highly recurved bloom shape that many lilies across many divisions have, (including some Asiatics and Orientals though NOT Trumpets or Longiflorum).

Of course, the most obvious way to tell them apart is that they bloom at very different times of year, generally going Asiatic, Longiflorum, Trumpet, Oriental. Though with individual varieties there is plenty of overlap (Regale is a very early Trumpet and Mona Lisa a very early Oriental). Also, most Asiatic hybrids do not have a fragrance - though Lankongense hybrids will have a mild sweet fragrance. Longiflorum has a moderate Tropical/fruity scent, Orientals a strong spicy scent, and Trumpets have the strongest scent of all, rather overpowering if brought indoors but beautiful in the garden.


    Bookmark   August 7, 2007 at 1:24AM
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linnea56(z5 IL)

I found this a very useful post last year and saved it so am bumping it up. Seems a lot of people are buying lily bulbs now and many of the common questions are answered here such as bloom time and telling non-blooming lilies apart by leaf pattern.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2008 at 3:15PM
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