Colored illustrations of lilies of Japan

In 1899, Yokohama Nursery Co., Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan published a book called Lilies of Japan containing colored illustrations of these herbaceous, flowering plants.

These images are taken from a copy provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library and scanned by

Different varieties of lily are found throughout the Japanese archipelago and are used for decorative and culinary purposes.

Lily is called yuri (百合) in Japanese and is often associated with feminine beauty. There is a saying that describes the figure of a beautiful woman as “a Chinese peony when standing up, a tree peony when sitting down, and a lily when walking” (立てば芍薬座れば牡丹歩く姿は百合の花).

It is said that the form of a lily gently swaying in the wind resembles a beautiful woman in motion.