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Parts of a Lily Flower

By Jacob J. Wright ; Updated September 21, 2017
Lilies have floral parts in multiples of threes.
lily image by Maciej Syrek from Fotolia.com

True lilies, those plants grouped taxonomically into the family Liliaceae and genus Lilium, share common traits in the structure of their flowers. While lily plants grow from either bulbs, their leaves also share a common characteristic of being parallel-veined and arranged in whorls or spirals on the stems. There are around 100 different species of Lilium in the world, all native to the Northern Hemisphere.


Six tepals comprise a lily blossom.
lily image by Colette MacDonald from Fotolia.com

When the lily flower bud first opens, there are two different ranks of structures, each comprised of three sections. The outer-most group of three is known as sepals, while the inner group of three is known as petals. Since lily sepals and petals look and function the same to create the flower, they are known as tepals. Thus, six tepals comprise the corolla of the lily flower.


The pistil is a straight green shaft in this photo.
pistils de lys image by Karl-Heinz Strüdel from Fotolia.com

In the center of the lily flower is the female floral part known as the pistil. It is an elongated tube with a swollen base where the ovules are housed in the ovary. The long tube of the pistil is known as the style, while the very tip of the pistil, which is sticky, is known as the stigma. The sticky tip of the stigma catches pollen grains that later cause the ovules in the pistil to become fertilized and develop into seeds. Most often the stigma tip is three-lobed.


The six anthers are dark brown.
lily image by Sergey Kalnitskiy from Fotolia.com

Six male-gendered stamens encircle the lily flower's pistil. Each stamen has a long, thread-like stem called a filament that is topped by an anther. The anther is usually a long cylinder that splits open to shed pollen. The anthers may be colored orange, gold, or rusty brown and ornamentally contrast the color of the flower's tepals.


About the Author


Jacob J. Wright became a full-time writer in 2008, with articles appearing on various websites. He has worked professionally at gardens in Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Wright holds a graduate diploma in environmental horticulture from the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Master of Science in public horticulture from the University of Delaware.