Living Lilies Fundraising

The Life of the Easter Lily

History

Smith River, CA

Lilium Longiflorum​ affectionately known as the Easter Lily is actually a native of the Ryukyu Islands of Japan.  During the 1800's it was widely cultivated in Bermuda and bulbs were shipped to this country.   In 1919, a World War I soldier from Oregon named, Louis Houghton, brought a suitcase full of hybrid Lily bulbs home and gave them away to family and friends.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII, the source of Japanese bulbs were abruptly cut off and the value of Lily bulbs skyrocketed. 

Easter Lily 

Research Foundation 

Many who were growing the Lilies as a hobby decided to go into business earning the bulbs the nickname of "White Gold."  By 1945, there were about 1,200 growers producing bulbs up and down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver, Canada to Long Beach, Ca.   Producing quality and consistent Lily bulbs proved to be an exact and demanding science with specific climate requirements.  Over the years the total number of Easter Lily Bulb producers dwindled down to just ten farms in a small, isolated coastal region straddling the California/Oregon border.  This region is called "The Easter Lily Capital of the World" and produces nearly all of the bulbs for the blooming potted Easter Lily market.  Even after the Japanese resumed shipping bulbs to the United States they have never been able to come close to the quality of those grown right here at home. 

"Quality Lilies through Cooperative Research "