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Paradisea liliastrum is an elegant species, native to the alpine meadows of southern Europe. The common name, St Bruno's lily, refers to the 11th century founder of the Carthusian order of monks, whose motherhouse was in the French Alps, where this plant can be found.

Paradisea liliastrum (St Bruno’s lily)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description

Paradisea liliastrum is an elegant species, native to the alpine meadows of southern Europe. The common name, St Bruno's lily, refers to the 11th century founder of the Carthusian order of monks, whose motherhouse was in the French Alps, where this plant can be found.

Paradisea liliastrum was listed in AD 512 by the Greek Dioscorides in his book, De Materia Medica, for its supposed medicinal properties. It has been grown in English gardens for many years. It was one of the plants ordered from Brussels by the English naturalist John Tradescant the elder, for the gardens of Hatfield House in 1610.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Paradisea liliastrum is found in the mountain ranges of the Alps, Jura, Pyrenees and Apennines, from Spain to Italy and Yugoslavia, at elevations of 1,000-2,300 m.

Description

This herbaceous perennial has a rhizomatous rootstock that spreads slowly to form a small clump. Its leaves are narrow and greyish-green. The flowers are white and trumpet-shaped, each 5 cm long with bright yellow stamens, and are produced in June and July in racemes on erect stems, 60 cm high above the foliage. The seeds are formed in an ovate capsule.

A larger-flowered form of this species, known as 'major', is available commercially.

Uses

Paradisea liliastrum is grown as an ornamental. It received an Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society in 1993. Historically, St Bruno's lily was used medicinally. There are reports that it is still occasionally collected from alpine meadows in the Pyrenees for use in folk medicine.

Cultivation

Paradisea liliastrum grows best in full sun, in rich, peaty soil, with ample moisture in summer. Propagation is by seed or division of clumps.

It is a beautiful, summer-flowering plant, suitable for rock gardens and herbaceous borders, but it is not commonly grown.

This species at Kew

St Bruno's lily can be seen growing north-east of the Temple of Arethusa.

Distribution
Italy, Spain
Ecology
Subalpine meadows and rocky slopes
Conservation
Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.
Hazards

None known.

[KSP]
Use
Ornamental, medicinal.

Native to:

Austria, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Yugoslavia

English
St Bruno’s lily

Paradisea liliastrum (L.) Bertol. appears in other Kew resources:

First published in Fl. Ital. 4: 133 (1840)

Accepted by

  • Rico, E. & al. (eds.) in Castroviejo, S. & al. (eds.) (2013). Flora Iberica 20: 1-651. Real Jardín Botánico, CSIC, Madrid.
  • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1980). Flora Europaea 5: 1-452. Cambridge University Press.

Literature

Kew Species Profiles

  • Leith-Ross, P. (1998). The John Tradescants: Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen. Peter Owen Publishers, London.
  • Mathew, B. (1981). Plant awards, 1980-1981. Quarterly Bulletin of the Alpine Garden Society. 49: 354-355.
  • Phillips, R. & Rix, M. (1991). Perennials. Pan Books, London.
  • Rigat, M., Bonet, M.Á., Garcia, S., Garnatje, T. & Vallès, J. (2007). Studies on pharmaceutical ethnobotany in the high river Ter valley (Pyrenees, Catalonia, Iberian Peninsula). Journal of Ethnopharmacology 113(2): 267-277.
  • Stearn, W.T. (1950). A note on Paradisea, Diuranthera and Notholirion. Kew Bulletin 5(3): 419-422.
  • The Plant List (2010). Paradisea liliastrum.
  • World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (2010). Paradisea liliastrum. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1980). Flora Europaea 5: 1-452. Cambridge University Press.

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0