Herb: Hong Kong Lily

Latin name: Lilium brownii

Synonyms: Lilium candidum, Lilium odorum

Family: Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Medicinal use of Hong Kong Lily:

The bulb is antitussive, diuretic, carminative, expectorant, febrifuge, pectoral, sedative and tonic. A decoction is used in the treatment of coughs and haematemesis due to deficiency condition, anxiety, apprehension, oedema and difficult urination. Bulbils from the leaf axils are used in the treatment of intestinal disorders. The dried and powdered flowers are used as a poultice for bruises, cuts etc.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)



Habitat of the herb:

Loose fertile soil along woodland edges or in grass and thickets. Rock crevices, amongst coarse grass and scrub below 1,500 metres.

Edible parts of Hong Kong Lily:

Bulb - cooked. A pleasant slightly sweet taste, they are used as a vegetable in much the same way as potatoes (Solanum tuberosum). A starch can be extracted from the bulbs and added to other foods. The grated bulb can be added as a thickener to soups etc. The bulb is usually rather small. The dried flower petals are used as a flavouring in soups.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - immediate epigeal germination. Sow thinly in pots from late winter to early spring in a cold frame. Should germinate in 2 - 4 weeks. Great care should be taken in pricking out the young seedlings, many people prefer to leave them in the seed pot until they die down at the end of their second years growth. This necessitates sowing the seed thinly and using a reasonably fertile sowing medium. The plants will also require regular feeding when in growth. Divide the young bulbs when they are dormant, putting 2 - 3 in each pot, and grow them on for at least another year before planting them out into their permanent positions when the plants are dormant. Division with care in the autumn once the leaves have died down. Replant immediately. Bulb scales can be removed from the bulbs in early autumn. If they are kept in a warm dark place in a bag of moist peat, they will produce bulblets. These bulblets can be potted up and grown on in the greenhouse until they are large enough to plant out. Bulblets are formed on the stem just below the soil surface. These should be dug up in the autumn and replanted immediately, preferably in a cold frame for growing on until large enough to plant out into the garden.

Cultivation of Hong Kong Lily:

Loose fertile soil along woodland edges or in grass and thickets. Rock crevices, amongst coarse grass and scrub below 1,500 metres.

Known hazards of Lilium brownii:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.