RESOURCES AND RESEARCH SITUATION OF THE GENUS LILIUM IN CHINA
China is the major centre of lily distribution in the world. Approximately 46 species and 18 varieties of lilies are distributed in China, accounting for 50% of the world total. Among them, 36 species and 15 varieties are native to China. They are widely distributed throughout the country, especially Sichuan, Yunnan and Xizang (Tibet). Most of them are not introduced for cultivation. Based on their distribution, their habitats were divided into five groups. And they express various morphological characteristics due to its complex climate and topography. The main characteristics are listed as follows: 1) heights ranging from 10-30 cm for short stemmed species to 100-200 cm for long stemmed species; 2) flower with trumpet, bell and starry shapes; 3) flower colours ranging from red, bright red, purple-red, greenish-white, white to yellow; 4) the presence of spots of different sizes and color in sepals and petals; and 5) fragrant flowers from 12 species. Many Chinese lilies have strong resistance to unfavourable conditions, for example, Lilium regale, L. formosanum, L. sulphureum to heat; L. henryi, L. davidii, L. sargentiae, L. leucanthum, L. pumilum to saline-alkali; L. pumilum, L. concolor to drought; and L. dauricum and L. distichum to cold. Systematic studies have been focused in aspects of speciation, evolution and classification of lilies by morphology, palynoly and karytype analysis. Besides systematical research, L. regale, L. sulphureum, L. davidii and L. lancifolium were introduced for cultivation. Rare and endangered lilies are now being conserved in China. New cultivars and hybrids were bred through interspecific hybridisation. In order to speed up propagation and improve quality of lily cultivars, tissue culture propagation to eliminate viruses from infected plants to obtain virusfree stock plants were undertaken. The future strategy is discussed in studying, conserving and developing lily germplasm.
Zhao, X., Chen, X., Li, D. and Liu, K. (1996). RESOURCES AND RESEARCH SITUATION OF THE GENUS LILIUM IN CHINA. Acta Hortic. 414, 59-68