Move over, prairie lily — you've got new competition from the University of Saskatchewan.
TheUniversity of Saskatchewan lily is a brand-new variety that has been developed by and named for the university, to celebrateits centennial this year.
Itbecame available at Saskatoon's Gardenscape show this week— the doors were barely open before several dozen lily fanciers had lined up to buy them.
Allan Phillips was the first in line. He said he was eager to get a couple of the plants and thinks they will become a family heirloom.
"I will have it for my grandchildren, it will be something, in a hundred years," he said.
The U of S lily was developed in the 1990s by Donna Hay of the university Plant Sciences Department, who cross-bred a couple of her favourite lily varieties in her own garden.
Ten years later, the lily has been officially registered with the Royal Horticultural Society, a status that gives it international recognition.
Hay said it barely made the grade, not because of its breeding, but because of its name.
"The Royal Horticultural Society says before you can register… it must be no longer than 10 syllables,"she said. "University of Saskatchewan is exactly ten syllables so we just made it."
If Hay had continued dividing plants the old-fashioned way, only a few hundred would be available.
Instead, thousands were grown by propagating them in laboratory petrie dishes.
So far, the university has received more than 800 enquires about the lily, from as far away as Montreal, and Malaysia.
And of course, there's plenty of interest inside Saskatchewan, which has a prairie lily— also known as the western red lily— on its provincial flag.