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Lilium martagon

Species of plant

Lilium martagon
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Liliaceae
Subfamily: Lilioideae
Tribe: Lilieae
Genus: Lilium
L. martagon
Binomial name
Lilium martagon
  • Lilium versicolor Salisb.
  • Lilium hirsutum Mill.
  • Lilium milleri Schult.
  • Martagon montanum Fourr.
  • Lilium caucasicum (Miscz.) Grossh.
  • Lilium cattaniae (Vis.) Vis.
  • Lilium martagonum St.-Lag.
  • Lilium dalmaticum Vis.
  • Lilium catanii Baker
  • Lilium glabrum Spreng.
  • Martagon sylvaticum Opiz
  • Lilium villosum Cavara
  • Lilium alpinum Kit.
  • Lilium pilosiusculum (Freyn) Miscz. (syn of L.m. var. pilosiusculum)

Lilium martagon, the martagon lily[2] or Turk's cap lily, is a Eurasian species of lily. It has a widespread native region extending from Portugal east through Europe and Asia as far east as Mongolia.[1][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]


Numerous names have been proposed at the levels of subspecies and varieties. Only two are recognized by the World Checklist.[1]


Lilium martagon. Eastern Siberia

Horticulturally it is in Division IX (true species). It is stem-rooting, growing between 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) and 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) tall. The flower colour is typically a pink-purple, with dark spots, but is quite variable, extending from near white to near black. The flowers are scented. Numerous flowers are borne on each plant, and up to 50 can be found on vigorous plants. The green stems can be flushed with purple or red and the leaves are elliptic to inverse lanceolate, mostly in whorls, up to 16 centimetres (6.3 in) long and often lightly hairy underneath.[10][11]

This plant[12] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[13]

Lilium martagon was used in hybridising with L. hansonii at the end of the 19th century by Mrs RO Backhouse of Hereford, England.[14]


The name Turk's cap lily, also applied to a number of other species, comes from the characteristic reflexed shape of the petals. The specific epithet martagon is a Turkish word which also means turban or cap.[15]



Lilium martagon, like many in the genus, is highly toxic to cats and ingestion often leads to fatal kidney failure;[16][17][18] households and gardens which are visited by cats are strongly advised against keeping this plant or placing dried flowers where a cat may brush against them and become dusted with pollen which they then consume while cleaning. Suspected cases require urgent veterinary attention.[19] Rapid treatment with activated charcoal and/or induced vomiting can reduce the amount of toxin absorbed (this is time-sensitive so in some cases vets may advise doing it at home), and large amounts of fluid by IV can reduce damage to kidneys to increase the chances of survival.[19]


  1. ^ a b c "World Checklist of Selected Plant Families: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew".
  2. ^ BSBI List 2007 (xls). Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original (xls) on 2015-06-26. Retrieved 2014-10-17.
  3. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Giglio a turbante, Common Turk's Cap Lily, Lilium martagon L. includes many color photos plus European distribution map
  4. ^ Flora of China, Vol. 24 Page 137 新疆百合 xin jiang bai he Lilium martagon var. pilosiusculum Freyn, Oesterr. Bot. Z. 40: 224. 1890.
  5. ^ Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1980). Flora Europaea 5: 1-452. Cambridge University Press.
  6. ^ Davis, P.H. (ed.) (1984). Flora of Turkey and the East Aegean Islands 8: 1-632. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.
  7. ^ Czerepanov, S.K. (1995). Vascular Plants of Russia and Adjacent States (The Former USSR): 1-516. Cambridge University Press.
  8. ^ Grubov, V.I. (2001). Key to the Vascular Plants of Mongolia 1: 1-411. Science Publishers, Inc. Enfield, USA. Plymouth, U.K..
  9. ^ Ikinci, N., Oberprieler, C. & Güner, A. (2006). On the origin of European lilies: phylogenetic analysis of Lilium section Liriotypus (Liliaceae) using sequences of the nuclear ribosomal transcribed spacers. Willdenowia 36: 647-565.
  10. ^ Christopher Brickell (1996). The RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. London: Dorling Kindersly. p. 615. ISBN 0-7513-0436-0.
  11. ^ European Garden Flora, 1986.
  12. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Lilium martagon". Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  13. ^ "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 20. Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  14. ^ Andrew Mikolajski, The New Plant Library - Lilies, Lorenz Books, Anness Publishing Ltd, New York, 1998, p10, ISBN 1-85967-634-0
  15. ^ Allen J Coombes (1985). The Hamlyn Guide to Plant Names. Reed International Books. p. 118. ISBN 0-600-57545-4.
  16. ^ Frequently Asked Questions No Lilies For Cats.
  17. ^ Fitzgerald, KT (2010). "Lily toxicity in the cat". Top Companion Anim Med. 25 (4): 213–7. doi:10.1053/j.tcam.2010.09.006. PMID 21147474.
  18. ^ Turk's cap lily is pure delight The Guardian.
  19. ^ a b Lily Poisoning in Cats. Pet MD.

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