Originally posted April 14, 2009
In the North Wing of the Conservatory at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, there are hordes of Easter Lilies in full bloom. In one corner I noticed the flowers in shade. In this one flower, I noticed the water drop. As I was getting set up to photograph it, the sun broke through the clouds and illuminated the shaft of this one flower! I call this “Halleluiah Light,” because I can just hear the angels singing!
Did you know that 95% of the 11.5 million Easter Lilies grown and sold originate from the border of California and Oregon? The area is labeled the “Easter Lily Capital of the World.”
Lilium longiflorum is actually a native of the southern islands of Japan. A World War I soldier, Louis Houghton, is credited with starting U.S. Easter Lily production when he brought a suitcase full of lily bulbs with him to the southern coast of Oregon in 1919. He gave them away to friends and when the supply of bulbs from Japan was cut off as a result of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the rising price of the bulbs suddenly made the lily business a viable industry for these hobby growers and earned the bulbs the nickname “White Gold.”
And if you have cats, please keep them away from this plant! Any part of this lily, as many of its relatives, can cause kidney failure in cats. Eating even one leaf can be fatal. There is a handy list of plants that are poisonous to cats compiled by the Cat Fanciers’ Association, Inc., here. For more information about what types of Lily plants to avoid, read the information here. I do grow Stargazers and Asiatic Lilies (in pots and out of reach), but my cats are kept indoors and when they are (very briefly) outdoors in the summer, they are under strict supervision—plus, their very own bed of catnip keeps them occupied the entire time! They never have been plant nibblers, so I’ve been fortunate that they ignore all of our house plants. I did get rid of a pencil cactus (which was out of the way anyway) as soon as I found out they are highly poisonous.
See another example of this serendipitous light here in a post I did last summer.
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