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Lily vs. Lilly — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Urooj Arif — Updated on April 3, 2024
"Lily" refers to a type of flowering plant, while "Lilly" is often a personal name or brand name.
Lily vs. Lilly — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Lily and Lilly

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Key Differences

The term "lily" is used to describe flowering plants belonging to the genus Lilium, known for their large, often fragrant flowers, which can be found in a variety of colors. These plants are characterized by their bulbous nature and grow in temperate regions worldwide. Lilies are popular in gardens and as cut flowers due to their striking appearance and scent. On the other hand, "Lilly" is commonly used as a given name or surname, and it is also associated with brands, such as Eli Lilly and Company, a multinational pharmaceutical company. While "lily" has a specific botanical meaning, "Lilly" is versatile, serving as a personal or corporate identifier.
Lilies are significant in various cultural and religious contexts, symbolizing purity, beauty, and rebirth, among other meanings. They are often featured in art, literature, and celebrations, reflecting their importance across different societies. Conversely, "Lilly" as a name might carry personal or familial significance but does not have a universal symbolic meaning. The usage of "Lilly" can also reflect branding strategies, embodying corporate values or identities.
When it comes to cultivation and care, lilies require specific conditions to thrive, including well-drained soil, adequate sunlight, and proper watering. Gardeners and horticulturists value these plants for their elegance and the vibrancy they bring to landscapes and floral arrangements. In contrast, the relevance of "Lilly" in terms of care or cultivation does not apply, as it pertains to individuals or entities rather than a living plant.
The botanical designation of "lily" includes only those plants within the Lilium genus, distinguishing them from other plants that might bear "lily" in their common names but belong to different genera. This distinction is crucial for botanists and plant enthusiasts in identifying and classifying plants accurately. "Lilly," however, does not pertain to botanical classification and is instead used in a social or commercial context.
"Lily" and "Lilly" occupy distinct categories—the former being a term rooted in the natural world of flora, and the latter a name used in human and corporate naming conventions. While "lily" relates directly to the characteristics and care of a specific type of plant, "Lilly" denotes personal identity or brand association, reflecting its non-botanical nature.
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Comparison Chart

Definition

A flowering plant in the genus Lilium.
A personal name or brand name.

Context

Botanical, gardening.
Personal, commercial.

Significance

Symbolizes purity, beauty, rebirth.
Personal or corporate identity.

Care and Cultivation

Requires well-drained soil, sunlight, water.
N/A

Classification

Belongs to the Lilium genus.
Used as a name, not related to botany.

Compare with Definitions

Lily

Flowering plant.
The lily bloomed with vibrant colors in the spring garden.

Lilly

Associated with identity.
Lilly's brand is synonymous with quality and innovation in the industry.

Lily

Botanical significance.
The study of lilies contributes to our understanding of plant evolution and genetics.

Lilly

Surname.
The Lilly family is known for their philanthropy in the community.

Lily

Symbol of purity.
The white lily is often associated with purity and is used in many bridal bouquets.

Lilly

Not related to botany.
While Lilly might remind some of flowers, it's primarily used as a name or brand.

Lily

Requires specific care.
Planting the lily bulbs in a sunny spot ensured their healthy growth.

Lilly

Brand name.
Eli Lilly and Company is a leading pharmaceutical firm.

Lily

Found in temperate regions.
Lilies are popular in gardens across temperate regions for their beauty and variety.

Lilly

Personal name.
Lilly was chosen as the baby's name for its simplicity and elegance.

Lily

A bulbous plant with large trumpet-shaped, typically fragrant, flowers on a tall, slender stem.

Lilly

Obsolete form of lily

Lily

A heraldic fleur-de-lis.

Lily

Any of various plants of the genus Lilium, having variously colored, often trumpet-shaped flowers.

Lily

Any of various similar or related plants, such as the daylily or the water lily.

Lily

The flower of any of these plants.

Lily

Any of several flowers in the genus Lilium of the family Liliaceae, which includes a great many ornamental species.

Lily

Any of several species of herbaceous flower which may or may not resemble the genus Lilium in some way, and which are not closely related to it or each other.

Lily

(heraldry) The flower used as a heraldic charge; also commonly used to describe the fleur-de-lis.

Lily

The end of a compass needle that should point north, traditionally often ornamented with the figure of a lily or fleur-de-lis.

Lily

A royal spade in auction bridge.

Lily

(cartomancy) The thirtieth Lenormand card, representing calmness and maturity.

Lily

White (as a racial epithet).

Lily

A plant and flower of the genus Lilium, endogenous bulbous plants, having a regular perianth of six colored pieces, six stamens, and a superior three-celled ovary.

Lily

A name given to handsome flowering plants of several genera, having some resemblance in color or form to a true lily, as Pancratium, Crinum, Amaryllis, Nerine, etc.

Lily

That end of a compass needle which should point to the north; - so called as often ornamented with the figure of a lily or fleur-de-lis.
But sailing further, it veers its lily to the west.

Lily

A royal spade; - usually in pl. See Royal spade, below.

Lily

Any liliaceous plant of the genus Lilium having showy pendulous flowers

Common Curiosities

Can "Lilly" be related to flowers in any context?

While "Lilly" as a name might be inspired by the flower for its beauty or symbolism, it does not refer to the plant itself.

Are all plants called "lily" part of the Lilium genus?

No, only plants within the Lilium genus are true lilies. Other plants with "lily" in their name might belong to different genera.

Are lilies easy to grow?

Lilies can be relatively easy to grow with the right conditions, but they do require some specific care to thrive.

Is "Lilly" another spelling for the flower?

No, "Lilly" is typically a personal or brand name, while "lily" refers to the flowering plant.

Are lilies used in medicine or cuisine?

Some species of lilies are used in traditional medicine, and certain lily bulbs are edible and used in cuisine, primarily in Asian countries.

What is the significance of lilies in weddings?

Lilies, especially white ones, symbolize purity and are a popular choice in wedding bouquets and decorations for their elegance and fragrance.

How do you care for a lily plant?

Lilies need well-drained soil, adequate sunlight, and regular watering, avoiding wetting the leaves to prevent disease.

What does the name "Lilly" mean?

While "Lilly" does not have a botanical meaning, as a name, it is often associated with qualities of beauty and purity, similar to the flower.

Can "Lilly" be used for boys and girls?

Yes, while traditionally a female name, "Lilly" and variations of it can be used for anyone, depending on personal or cultural preferences.

Does the name "Lilly" have a specific origin?

The name "Lilly" is often derived from the lily flower, symbolizing purity and beauty, but it can have various origins and meanings in different cultures.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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