Lil·y n.; pl. Lilies
1. Bot. A plant and flower of the genus Lilium, endogenous bulbous plants, having a regular perianth of six colored pieces, six stamens, and a superior three-celled ovary.
Note: ☞ There are nearly fifty species, all found in the North Temperate zone. Lilium candidum and Lilium longiflorum are the common white lilies of gardens; Lilium Philadelphicum is the wild red lily of the Atlantic States. Lilium Chalcedonicum is supposed to be the “lily of the field” in our Lord's parable; Lilium auratum is the great gold-banded lily of Japan.
2. Bot. A name given to handsome flowering plants of several genera, having some resemblance in color or form to a true lily, as Pancratium, Crinum, Amaryllis, Nerine, etc.
3. That end of a compass needle which should point to the north; -- so called as often ornamented with the figure of a lily or fleur-de-lis.
But sailing further, it veers its lily to the west. --Sir T. Browne.
4. Auction Bridge A royal spade; -- usually in pl. See Royal spade, below.
African lily Bot., the blue-flowered Agapanthus umbellatus.
Atamasco lily Bot., a plant of the genus Zephyranthes (Zephyranthes Atamasco), having a white and pink funnelform perianth, with six petal-like divisions resembling those of a lily. --Gray.
Blackberry lily Bot., the Pardanthus Chinensis, the black seeds of which form a dense mass like a blackberry.
Bourbon lily Bot., Lilium candidum. See Illust.
Butterfly lily. Bot. Same as Mariposa lily, in the Vocabulary.
Lily beetle Zool., a European beetle (Crioceris merdigera) which feeds upon the white lily.
Lily daffodil Bot., a plant of the genus Narcissus, and its flower.
Lily encrinite Paleon., a fossil encrinite, esp. Encrinus liliiformis. See Encrinite.
Lily hyacinth Bot., a plant of the genus Hyacinthus.
Lily iron, a kind of harpoon with a detachable head of peculiar shape, used in capturing swordfish.
Lily of the valley Bot., a low perennial herb (Convallaria majalis), having a raceme of nodding, fragrant, white flowers.
Lily pad, the large floating leaf of the water lily. [U. S.] --Lowell.
Tiger lily Bot., Lilium tigrinum, the sepals of which are blotched with black.
Turk's-cap lily Bot. Lilium Martagon, a red lily with recurved sepals; also, the similar American lily, Lilium superbum.
Water lily Bot., the Nymphæa, a plant with floating roundish leaves, and large flowers having many petals, usually white, but sometimes pink, red, blue, or yellow. [See Illust. of Nymphæa.]
n : any liliaceous plant of the genus Lilium having showy
The Hebrew name shushan or shoshan, i.e., "whiteness", was used
as the general name of several plants common to Syria, such as
the tulip, iris, anemone, gladiolus, ranunculus, etc. Some
interpret it, with much probability, as denoting in the Old
Testament the water-lily (Nymphoea lotus of Linn.), or lotus
(Cant. 2:1, 2; 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). "Its flowers are
large, and they are of a white colour, with streaks of pink.
They supplied models for the ornaments of the pillars and the
molten sea" (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chr. 4:5). In the Canticles
its beauty and fragrance shadow forth the preciousness of Christ
to the Church. Groser, however (Scrip. Nat. Hist.), strongly
argues that the word, both in the Old and New Testaments,
denotes liliaceous plants in general, or if one genus is to be
selected, that it must be the genus Iris, which is "large,
vigorous, elegant in form, and gorgeous in colouring."
The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament (Matt.
6:28; Luke 12:27) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium
Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into
flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the
mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the
district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a
very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract
the attention of the hearers" (Balfour's Plants of the Bible).
Of the true "floral glories of Palestine" the pheasant's eye
(Adonis Palestina), the ranunuculus (R. Asiaticus), and the
anemone (A coronaria), the last named is however, with the
greatest probability regarded as the "lily of the field" to
which our Lord refers. "Certainly," says Tristram (Nat. Hist. of
the Bible), "if, in the wondrous richness of bloom which
characterizes the land of Israel in spring, any one plant can
claim pre-eminence, it is the anemone, the most natural flower
for our Lord to pluck and seize upon as an illustration, whether
walking in the fields or sitting on the hill-side." "The white
water-lily (Nymphcea alba) and the yellow water-lily (Nuphar
lutea) are both abundant in the marshes of the Upper Jordan, but
have no connection with the lily of Scripture."