Lanzou Lily
Lanzohou Lily Flower [Lilium davidii var. unicolor]

This lily is native to mountainous regions from northwestern China south as far as Yunan. They are also found in the far northeastern tribal regions of India as well as Bhutan and Tibet. This lily, growing to about 5 feet tall, produces crisp sweet edible bulbs up to 1-3/4 inches diameter. These are used in stir fries and in various other ways. The flowers are not aromatic, so are not used for food. The center for cultivation of this lily is around the city of Lanzhou in the Gansu province of northwest China. This is not the lily used to make dried lily buds called "Golden Needles". That one is actually in the Asparagus order.   Photo by Darm Crook contributed to the Public Domain .

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Lily Bulbs   -   [Bai He (China)]
Lily Bulbs, whole and opened These bulbs are not solid, but flake apart into many "petals". In the front of the photo is a bulb turned stem end up and pried apart. These petals are crisp and sweet.

Buying:   These are now fairly easy to find in Asian markets serving a Chinese community. They are packed 4 to a small vacuum pack bag. They weigh about 1 ounce each, so a 4 ounce package. The photo specimens were purchased from a large Asian market in Los Angeles (San Gabriel) for 2016 US $1.99 per package, or about $7.96 per pound. The package has two bulbs behind a clear window and two bulbs hidden by color and writing. Always squeeze the invisible ones to make sure they're firm.

Prep:   Separate the bulb into its separate petals and pinch off any discoloration. They will always be brown at the stem end of the petals. Keep in cold water until needed.

Cooking:   The petals should be rather minimally cooked and should remain crunchy. If overcooked they lose their sweetness and become starchy.

Growing:   These lilies grow easily in most temperate climates. Bulbs with some root threads at the bottom can be planted. They will produce as many as 20 orange flowers per plant, and spread rather easily.

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