Rose and pale pink primulas fringe the margin of the snow, the dainty Pedicularis tubiflora covers moist spots with its mantle of gold; great yellow and white, and small purple and white anemones, pink and white dianthus, a very large myosotis, bringing the intense blue of heaven down to earth, purple orchids by the water, borage staining whole tracts deep blue, martagon lilies, pale green lilies veined and spotted with brown, yellow, orange, and purple vetches, painter's brush, dwarf dandelions, white clover, filling the air with fragrance, pink and cream asters, chrysanthemums, lychnis, irises, gentian, artemisia, and a hundred others, form the undergrowth of millions of tall Umbelliferae and Compositae, many of them peach-scented and mostly yellow.
I know that all the lilies, native or exotic, the Turk's cap lily, or Martagon, the lily of Chalcedon, the tiger lily and many others, are to their taste; I do not forget that the crown imperial fritillary and the Persian fritillary are equally welcome; but most of these delicate plants have refused the hospitality of my two acres of pebbles and those which it is more or less possible for me to grow are now as tattered as the common lily.
It will not perhaps be the common or white lily, but some other representative of the same family Turk's cap lily, orange lily, scarlet Martagon, lancifoliate lily, tiger-spotted lily, golden lily hailing from the Alps or the Pyrenees, or brought from China or Japan.
He concludes thus: 'I am pretty well satisfied that the flower celebrated by the poets is what we now are acquainted with under the name 'Lilium floribus reflexis, or Martagon, and perhaps may be that very species which we call Imperial Martagon. 'As the blue bells Of hyacinth tell Apollo's written grief. Amid the faint companions of their youth.
And again He said, "Consider the lilies of the field" not the pale, delicate blossom we know so well, but "the scarlet martagon" which "decks herself in red and gold to meet the step of summer" "Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin; yet I say unto you that even Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of these.
Nowhere in literature has the virtue of mere innocent gladness been more charmingly imagined than in her morning outbreak of expectancy, half animal glee, half spiritual joy; the "whole sunrise, not to be suppressed" is a limitless splendour, but the reflected beam cast up from the splash of her ewer and dancing on her poor ceiling is the same in kind; in the shrub-house up the hill-side are great exotic blooms, but has not Pippa her one martagon lily, over which she queens it?
Martagon is an Arabic word, signifying a Turkish cap. A very strange and uncanny-looking lily, which I had never seen before, turned up near Kandersteg at the Blue Lake, beloved of Mr. H. G. Wells. This is "the Herb Paris." It has four narrow outstretched green sepals, and four still narrower green petals, eight large stamens, and a purple seed capsule.
The martagon lily flourished in the Aldington garden, and when they were blooming the overpowering scent was particularly attractive to moths of the Plusia genus, including the Burnished Brass, the Golden Y, and the Beautiful Golden Y, all exhibiting very distinctive markings of burnished gold; and other Noctuæ in great variety.
At a lower level, in the woods, we come upon other plants, not really "Alpine" at all, but of great and special beauty. We were anxious to find the noble Martagon lily, and hunted in many glades and forest borders for it. At last, concealed on a bank in a wood, between Glion and Les Avants, it revealed itself in quantity, many specimens standing over three feet in height.
As they were rising, the young Gracus remarked: "By Apollo! I have not taken my emetic." "To forget that is to know sorrow," said another. Slaves brought their outer robes and they followed the young prince. He led them, between vines and fruit trees and beds of martagon and mirasolus, to the lion-house in his garden. Vergilius now understood the test of courage to be put upon him.