0407lilly500×300.jpgBeyond the stupid cheese and debra barone post, one of the most popular posts on here is the Easter Lily post. And since it’s the first day of Spring, I thought I’d list some mindless, but fun facts on Easter Lilies for those that find their way here. They must be true because I found them on the web 😉

First and foremost, people: Lily, the flower, has only one L.

L-i-l-y

Outside of work, I’m not usually the grammar or spelling police, but I had to get it out.

Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest, here we go:

  • Since the beginning of time, lilies have played significant roles in allegorical tales concerning the sacrament of motherhood. Ancient fables tell us the lily sprang from the milk of Hera, the mythological Queen of Heaven. Roman mythology links the lily to Juno, queen of the gods. Legend has it that while Juno was nursing her son, Hercules, her excess milk fell from the sky. Some of this milk remained above the earth to form the stars; the rest fell to earth and turned into lilies. In early Christian art, the lily was a symbol of purity because of its delicacy of form and its snow white color. Biblical legend tells us that the lily flower came from Eve’s tears when she and Adam were banished from the Garden of Eden.
  • The Easter Lily originated in Japan. 95% of all Easter Lily bulbs for the potted Easter Lily market are grown on 10 farms along the California/Oregon border.
  • Lilies are often called the “White-Robed Apostles of Hope”. Lilies were discovered in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ died on the cross. During the Easter season, churches line their altars and envelop their crosses with a multitude of Easter Lilies, to signify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the hope of eternal life.
  • The Easter Lily (Lilium longiforum) is native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, as well as the islands of Okinawa, Amani, and Erabu. Although Easter lilies came to England in 1819, commercial bulb production initially started in Bermuda in 1853. The Bermuda lily industry was devastated in 1898 by a virus infestation. Around the turn of the century, the Japanese took over the annual growing and exportation of Easter Lilies to the United States, and continued to dominate the U. S. export market until the start of World War II.
  • Current U. S. production began with a World War I soldier, Louis Houghton, who brought a suitcase full of hybrid lily bulbs to the South coast of Oregon in 1919. Houghton freely distributed bulbs to his horticultural friends and neighbors. With World War II, the Japanese source of bulbs was abruptly cut off. As a result, the value of lily bulbs sky-rocketed and many who were growing the lilies as a hobby decided to go into business. The Easter Lily bulbs at that time were called “White Gold,” and growers everywhere attempted to cash in on the crop. By 1945, there were about 1,200 growers producing bulbs up and down the Pacific coast, from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, California
  • This lily is the traditional flower of spring and is highly regarded as a joyful symbol of beauty, hope, and life. Each holiday is marked by cherished traditions that bring joy, comfort, and warmth, and provide continuity from one generation to the next. Easter has its share of traditions: egg decorations and hunts; gift baskets and chocolate bunnies, sunrise church services, parades, and, of course, the Easter Lily. For many, the beautiful trumpet-shaped white flowers symbolize purity, virtue, innocence, hope and life — the spiritual essence of Easter.
  • The cultivar most commonly grown for U.S. markets is the “Nellie White.” It is named for a lily grower’s wife and has large, white, fragrant trumpet-shaped flowers.
  • Despite a sales window of only two weeks, Easter lilies are the fourth largest crop in wholesale value in the U.S. potted plant market, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • One of my BFFs just had a gorgeous baby girl named Lily!

and here is some Easter trivia:

  • There is an Easter Peep eating contest held each year in Sacramento, California.
  • A commercial laying hen can now produce up to 280 eggs each year
  • Each year witnesses the making of nearly 90 million chocolate bunnies.
  • I can single-handedly consume enough Easter candy to feed a small village.
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