The white lily (Lilium candidum) is a perennial flowering plant that grows up to 60 inches (150cm) tall. The bulbs are large and scaly. The leaves are linear; some grow at the base of the stalk and some around the stalk. The white lily is native to the Mediterranean and western Asia.
The white lily was popular with ancient Greeks and Romans. The Church dedicated the white lily to the Madonna--according to Botanical.com--probably because the white color of the flowers was the symbol of purity. The white lily has been cultivated in England for over 300 years.
The white lily bulb produces a hardy plant and thrives in many types of soil, as long as the beds are not in low, poorly drained areas. Plant bulbs in rifts, rather than in rows. Dig planting holes three times as deep as the height of the bulb and twice as wide as the bulb, but not more than four inches deep. Plant bulbs at least six inches apart. White lily bulbs should be planted before the end of August. Mulch the bulbs each year with wood ash, compost and bonemeal (just a dusting).
The white lily bulb does not like to be moved once planted. Choose a spot to plant where the bulbs will not have to be transplanted. Often bulbs that were fine before transplanting do not grow after transplanting. Water the bulbs with at least an inch of water each week. When the plant emerges from the soil, water gently but with at least an inch of water each week. The soil needs to be kept moist to at least eight to ten inches below the soil if the bulbs were planted four inches deep, so the roots are sure to get plenty of moisture from the soil.
The white lily bulb is used for food in certain cultures. It is harvested in August. It can be used as fresh food or dried to be used in cooking. The scales are peeled off and dried for other uses, and the bulb is commonly served with a white sauce in Japan. Once cooked, the bulb loses its acrid taste and is sweet tasting.
The white lily bulb is used for external inflammation, according to Ageless.co.za. The bulb is boiled in three tablespoons of water or milk, then applied to the inflamed area. The fresh bulb is also bruised and applied to tumors to help soften them. When the bulb is made into an ointment, it can be applied to corns and burns to help with pain and inflammation.