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Pyrenean Lily

Lilium pyrenaicum

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Liliaceae (Lily)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
80 centimetres tall
Gardens, hedgerows, meadows, mountains, roadsides, rocky places, woodland.

Yellow, 6 petals
An exotic looking, drooping flower which can be orange or red but is most often yellow. The petals are fully bent backwards and are often covered in purple spots. Red anthers. Martagon Lily (Lilium Martagon) is a similar-looking species but has pink flowers.
The Pyrenean Lily does not produce a traditional fruit. Instead, it reproduces through the formation of capsules containing seeds. These capsules develop from the flower's fertilized ovaries and play a crucial role in the plant's reproductive cycle.
Narrow, dense, lance-shaped, pointed leaves. The grass-like leaves spiral upwards along a single erect stem. A garden escape species, found in all parts of the British Isles.
The Pyrenean Lily is known to emit a subtle, sweet fragrance. The aroma, though not overpowering, adds to the overall appeal of the flower, making it an enticing feature for those who appreciate the olfactory delights of blooming lilies.
Other Names:
Golden Lily, Pyrenean Meadow Lily, Pyrenees Lily, Yellow Martagon Lily, Yellow Turk's-cap Lily.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Lilium pyrenaicum, also known as Pyrenees lily, is a species of lily that is native to the Pyrenees mountains in Europe. It is a hardy, tall plant, growing up to 3 feet in height, with large, upward facing flowers that are usually pink, red, orange or yellow in color. The plant prefers moist, well-drained soil, and partial to full sun. The flowers are fragrant, large, and have reflexed petals, and they form a trumpet shape. This species is known to be rare and protected in some countries, it is also used as an ornamental plant in gardens and in cut flower arrangements.


Pyrenean Lily (Lilium pyrenaicum) is a beautiful and vibrant plant that is native to the Pyrenees mountain range, which stretches across the border of France and Spain. This stunning lily is a perennial herb that belongs to the Liliaceae family and is widely popular for its eye-catching beauty.

The Pyrenean Lily is a tall and slender plant that can grow up to 80 cm in height. It has long, narrow, lance-shaped leaves that grow in whorls around the stem. The plant blooms from June to August and produces large, trumpet-shaped flowers that are a bright golden-yellow color. The flowers have six petals and a prominent central pistil that is surrounded by six stamens. The flowers are known for their sweet fragrance and attract a wide range of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

Pyrenean Lily is a hardy plant that is well-suited for growing in gardens and rockeries. It prefers well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter and is tolerant of a wide range of soil pH levels. The plant grows best in full sun or partial shade and requires regular watering during the growing season.

One of the most interesting features of the Pyrenean Lily is its use in traditional medicine. The plant contains a range of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, terpenes, and alkaloids, that have been shown to have a wide range of therapeutic effects. In traditional medicine, the Pyrenean Lily has been used to treat a range of ailments, including fever, headaches, and digestive problems. Recent research has also suggested that the plant may have potential as an anticancer agent.

In addition to its medicinal properties, the Pyrenean Lily is also widely used in horticulture. The plant is popular for its ornamental value and is often used to add color and texture to garden beds and borders. It is also well-suited for growing in containers and can be used to add a touch of elegance to patios and balconies.

The Pyrenean Lily is also known by several other common names, including Pyrenean Meadow Lily, Yellow Turk's-cap Lily, and Golden Lily. It is a popular plant for rock gardens and alpine gardens, as it is able to thrive in cooler temperatures and harsher growing conditions.

In its native habitat, the Pyrenean Lily can be found growing in meadows, pastures, and rocky slopes at altitudes of up to 2500 meters. The plant has adapted to withstand harsh weather conditions, including high winds and cold temperatures, and is able to grow in rocky, nutrient-poor soils.

The Pyrenean Lily is an easy plant to grow and requires minimal maintenance. It is generally pest and disease-free, although it may be susceptible to root rot if grown in poorly-drained soils. The plant can be propagated from bulbs, which should be planted in the fall for best results.

One of the most interesting aspects of the Pyrenean Lily is its role in local folklore and mythology. In the Pyrenees region, the plant is believed to have magical properties and is associated with the legend of the "Golden Lily of Saint Martin." According to the legend, the plant was created by Saint Martin, a Catholic saint who was known for his miracles, to help a poor shepherd who had lost his way in the mountains.

In addition to its cultural and historical significance, the Pyrenean Lily is also an important plant for conservation. The plant is listed as a "vulnerable" species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) due to habitat loss and degradation caused by agriculture and urbanization.

The Pyrenean Lily is a popular cut flower and is often used in floral arrangements and bouquets. Its long stems and bright yellow blooms make it an eye-catching addition to any flower arrangement. When using the plant as a cut flower, it is important to cut the stems at a diagonal angle and place them in a vase with fresh water. The flowers should be kept out of direct sunlight and away from sources of heat.

The Pyrenean Lily is also an important plant for wildlife, as it provides a source of food and shelter for a range of insect and animal species. The plant is pollinated by bees and butterflies, which are attracted to its sweet fragrance and bright blooms. The leaves of the plant provide a food source for grazing animals, including sheep and goats.

In addition to its ornamental and ecological value, the Pyrenean Lily has also been used in traditional cuisine. In some parts of France and Spain, the plant is used to flavor soups and stews, and the bulbs are sometimes roasted and eaten as a snack.

The Pyrenean Lily has been cultivated for hundreds of years and has given rise to several cultivars and hybrids. One popular hybrid is Lilium pyrenaicum var. rubrum, which has reddish-pink flowers instead of the typical yellow color. Other cultivars include 'Flavum', which has lemon-yellow flowers, and 'Orangery', which has orange-yellow blooms.

In conclusion, the Pyrenean Lily is a versatile and fascinating plant with a range of cultural, ecological, and economic significance. Its striking beauty and ease of cultivation make it a popular choice for gardeners and floral enthusiasts, while its medicinal properties and conservation status highlight the importance of preserving and protecting this unique species. Whether you are interested in horticulture, traditional medicine, or simply enjoy the natural beauty of plants, the Pyrenean Lily is definitely worth learning more about.

30 Facts About the Pyrenean Lily

  1. Scientific Name: The Pyrenean Lily is scientifically known as Lilium pyrenaicum.

  2. Native Habitat: This stunning flower is native to the mountainous regions of Europe, particularly the Pyrenees.

  3. Altitude Enthusiast: Pyrenean Lilies are known to thrive at high altitudes, often found in alpine meadows and rocky slopes.

  4. Distinctive Appearance: Characterized by its vibrant yellow flowers, the Pyrenean Lily stands out with its bell-shaped blooms.

  5. Multiple Blooms: A single Pyrenean Lily plant can produce multiple flowers on a single stem, creating a beautiful cluster of blooms.

  6. Perennial Charm: This lily is a perennial plant, meaning it lives for more than two years, and it blooms year after year.

  7. Hardiness: Adapted to survive in challenging environments, the Pyrenean Lily is known for its hardiness and resilience.

  8. Unique Flower Structure: The flower's stamens and pistils extend beyond the petals, creating an intriguing and distinctive appearance.

  9. Aromatic Delight: Some varieties of Pyrenean Lilies emit a subtle, sweet fragrance, adding to their allure.

  10. Blooming Season: Typically, these lilies bloom in late spring to early summer, adding a burst of color to their mountainous habitats.

  11. Cultural Symbolism: Lilies, in general, are often associated with purity and renewal, and the Pyrenean Lily is no exception.

  12. Pollination Mechanism: The Pyrenean Lily attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies, aiding in its reproductive cycle.

  13. Botanical Relatives: Belonging to the Lilium genus, the Pyrenean Lily is a close relative of other popular lily species.

  14. Adaptation to Climate: Its natural habitat exposes the Pyrenean Lily to diverse weather conditions, contributing to its ability to adapt to varying climates.

  15. Medicinal Uses: Traditionally, some cultures have used parts of the Pyrenean Lily for medicinal purposes, although caution is always advised.

  16. Edible Bulbs: While not commonly consumed, the bulbs of some lily species, including the Pyrenean Lily, are edible in small quantities.

  17. Cultivation in Gardens: Gardeners appreciate the Pyrenean Lily for its ornamental value, and it can be cultivated in gardens with well-drained soil.

  18. Phototropism: Like many flowers, the Pyrenean Lily exhibits phototropism, following the sun's movement throughout the day.

  19. Endangered Status: In certain regions, the Pyrenean Lily faces threats due to habitat loss, making conservation efforts crucial.

  20. Symbol of Resilience: The ability of Pyrenean Lilies to thrive in harsh conditions makes them a symbol of resilience and strength.

  21. Hybrid Varieties: Horticulturists have created hybrid varieties of the Pyrenean Lily, introducing new colors and features.

  22. Cultural Significance: In some European cultures, lilies, including the Pyrenean Lily, are used in various cultural and religious ceremonies.

  23. Alpine Garden Favorite: Due to its alpine origins, the Pyrenean Lily is a popular choice for alpine and rock gardens.

  24. Long-lasting Blooms: The flowers of the Pyrenean Lily can last for an extended period, providing an enduring display of beauty.

  25. Global Distribution: Beyond the Pyrenees, this lily can be found in other mountainous regions of Europe, expanding its geographical presence.

  26. Tuber Formation: Pyrenean Lilies propagate through the formation of tubers, which store nutrients for the plant's growth.

  27. Aphid Attraction: These lilies may attract aphids, but natural predators such as ladybugs often help control the aphid population.

  28. Ephemeral Beauty: While each individual flower's life may be short-lived, the collective bloom of a Pyrenean Lily population is a breathtaking spectacle.

  29. Landscaping Accent: Landscape designers often use Pyrenean Lilies to add a splash of color and elegance to outdoor spaces.

  30. Environmental Indicator: The presence of Pyrenean Lilies in an ecosystem can indicate the overall health of the environment, as they are sensitive to changes in their surroundings.


The Pyrenean Lily filmed at Staveley in the Lake District on the 1st June 2023.


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Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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