Easter Lilies – With or Without Anthers

It’s the time of the year for the best smelling flower (in my opinion)  – the Easter lily.

Easter Lily without Anthers

Easter lilies are very easy to keep inside of the home. They need a spot with bright light and the soil should be kept moderately moist. When the flowers have died, the plant can be put into the garden in a sunny spot and it will blossom in the summer for a number of years.

When you look inside the blossom of a lily you get a quick lesson in the structure of a flower. An easter lily has 6 stamens, the male parts of a flower, which are made up of a filament and anther.  The filament is a  slender stalk that supports the anther, the pollen producing part of a flower. The female part of the blossom is the pistil which has three parts: stigma, style and ovary. The stigma of a lily is triangular, sticks out of the flower a little and is often covered with a sticky liquid. The stigma receives the pollen during pollination and the sticky coating helps the pollen to adhere. The ovary is deep inside the blossom and has the embryonic seeds inside of it. The style simply connects the stigma and ovary.

Easter Lily Beginning to Open

There is one little bit of grooming that I perform on my Easter lily flowers. When the blossoms begin to open I carefully pull off the 6 yellow anthers before they release their pollen. I added the word carefully because lily blossoms are easily bruised and rough handling can leave dark marks on the petals. You don’t have to remove the anthers but if you leave them and allow the pollen to be released, the inside of the lily can get coated with a layer of yellow pollen. I like my lilies to stay white so I always pick the anthers.

Removing the anthers can also prevent some cleaning problems. If an open anthers falls on a tablecloth, the pollen will cause a bright yellow stain that’s very hard to remove. When I was working in a flower shop we would always pick the anthers of lilies to prevent this possibility. Our fingers were always stained with lily pollen but at least the customer’s tablecloth wasn’t!

So this spring, enjoy the flower of the season. Pick those lily anthers if you want clean, white Easter lilies and enjoy the smell of these beauties.

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