During the last 50 years the lily has become worldwide one of the most important flower bulbs and cut flowers. They are mainly cultivated in The Netherlands with bulb production acreage of more than 5000 ha. The assortment of lilies consists of thousands of cultivars which can be classified in different hybrid groups. Due to innovative new hybrid breeding strategies that have been developed and implemented over these last 50 years, the assortment of lilies has changed dramatically. The development of the assortment and the important steps herein from the first diploid Asiatic hybrids to the wide variety of intersectional polyploid hybrids that are available now or within the near future is described. The characteristics of the most widely grown cultivars will be presented.
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