Lilium candidum, the Madonna Lily, is a plant in the genus Lilium, one of the true lilies. It is native to the Balkans and West Asia. It forms bulbs at ground level, and unlike other lilies, has a basal rosette of leaves through the winter, which die back in summer. A leafy flower stem, typically up to 1.2 m high, sometimes up to 2 m high, emerges in late spring and bears fragrant flowers in summer. Flowers are white, flushed yellow at the base.
It has long been cultivated, but is susceptible to virus diseases of lilies, and to Botrytis fungus. One possible way around to avoid problems with viruses is to grow plants raised from seed. Madonna lilies are depicted on wall paintings at the Minoan palace of Knossos. Medieval depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary usually show her clutching these flowers.
The Madonna lily was formerly the provincial flower of Quebec, a reference to the white fleurs de lis on the provincial flag. However, as the Madonna lily is not native to Quebec and grows poorly there, the provincial flower was changed to the blue flag iris, which is native to Quebec.