Lilies at almost 3,000 metres above sea level? It’s hard to believe, but it’s true! However, the Common Alp Lily is much smaller than, say, the tiger lily that grows in the lowlands. As it grows in harsh, windy places, it is a much better strategy to remain small and pliable – a metre-high lily would find it hard to thrive here. The Common Alp Lily grows to a maximum height of 15 cm and has roundish, fleshy leaves that are somewhat reminiscent of chives but do not smell like them. In summer, its flowers are a delicate creamy white and its petals have browny-red stripes on the outside. The flowering period usually only lasts a few days before the seed pods appear.
Facts and Figures
Perhaps it is precisely because this species is so delicate that it chooses the wind-exposed summits. There is often no snow in winter and the ground often remains frozen for months. The advantage of this location is that there is hardly any competition here; this delicate little plant would really struggle to compete.
The Common Alp Lily is a species that typically inhabits what are known as Windecken (wind corners). It grows on nutrient-deficient, acidic summits or on rocky ledges. It is not common on the Gornergrat and you need to look closely if you want to find it. more information