Flora: Martagon lily - Türkenbund - Lis martagon

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Martagon lily (Lilium martagon) flower

The Martagon lily (Türkenbund in German, Lis martagon in French, Lilium martagonin Latin) is a beautiful and conspicuous (when flowering) perennial plant that grows in valleys and mountains all the way from Europe to Asia. The flowers are pinkish to white with dark dots and effuse a sweet odor in the evening and at night in order to attract nocturnal pollinators such as the Hummingbird Hawk-moth.
The Martagon lily is a protected plant and therefore you should most definitely not dig it up (only take photographs and leave nothing but footprints). However, if you bought bulbs of one of the martagon lily cultivars, you could admire their golden-yellowish color. In medieval times, miraculous curativeness was ascribed to these bulbs and alchemists used them to transform base metals into gold. Luckily this attempt was in vain and therefore we can still enjoy the sight of Martagon lilies in the wild.
The origin of the name "martagon" seems dubious. It either refers to the Roman god of war Mars, who alchemists believed to have a hand in the transformation of metals, or originates from the Turkish word turban. Some types of this headdress come in shapes remotely similar to one of the Martagon lilie's flowers. In contrast, many (German) colloquial names of the Martagon lily (e.g. Goldapfel, Goldbölla, Goldknopf, Goldlilgen, Goldpfandl, Goldruabn, Goldwurzl, Goldzwifl, Poms d'or) refer to the golden bulbs and their origin is thus much less dubious. 

2012/09/18 by Florian Freimoser
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