History of the Asiatic Lily
One of the most important ancestors of the Asiatic lilies is the European species Lilium bulbiferum var. croceum, this species is pollinated on a large scale with other species like L. maculatum, L. davidii. L. lancifolium ( formerly called L. tiginium ) en L. dauricum. Other species are also used and later on a lot of these seedlings were interbred with each other.
The most important founder of this group is lilies was Mr Jaan de Graaff from Oregon in the US. He began his first lily experiments in 1938 at his company Oregon Bulbs Farms. He startied a programm of hybradization for beauty, hardiness and ease of growing. In 1941 the 'Enchantment' was produced, a wonderful orange lily which grew to become the most famous hybrid lily of all time. In the 60s and 70s more 'Enchantment' lilies were grown than all other lilies in the whole world.
Mr De Graaff introduced many many other lilies but 'Enchantment' is by far his biggest success. He was born in Leiden, the Netherlands, into a family that had been in the wholesale bulb business since 1723. With the family's help, he bought the Oregon Bulb Farms in 1934.
In World War II, when imports were scarce, Mr. de Graaff became one of this country's premier producers of daffodil and tulip bulbs. In 1962 he received the American Home Achievement Medal for outstanding work in horticulture, as determined by the presidents of all the national horticultural organizations. He sold his business in 1968 and moved to Manhattan. Jan de Graaff also was the breeder of the very popular ‘trumpet’ lilies.