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Plant of the Month
& Reader Contributions

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Crown Anemone (Anemone coronaria)

Watch this page grow during March with information and worship resources provided by your contributions


Photo from PxHere


onsider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 

Matthew 6:28–29 (ESV)

I decided to begin the plant of the month series with the anemone, or more specifically Anemone coronaria, as I wanted to plant these this year to see a new spring flower in my little garden, and I was told they are low maintenance. But why mention them in March? Because this is apparently the time to start checking bulb suppliers for their availability and prices for an autumn sowing. I found the anemone corms were very reasonably priced and available in mixed packs, not just one-colour packs. I’ve chosen a pack of 20 mixed, and if they grow then I’ll plant more next autumn.

That was the easy part done, and then when I began to look at the evidence for the Anemone coronaria being the lily of the field, as I had believed, I discovered that this may not be the case. Instead, it appears that at least six, and maybe more, plants are under consideration for being the Biblical lily. And over the span of more than one hundred years some of the plants put forward earlier, and then later dismissed, seem to be emerging again to claim the title of ‘lily of the field’.

I thought it may be helpful to make a chart of some of the contenders:


Scarlet Crowfoot (Ranunculus asiaticus)

MathKnight and Zachi Evenor, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Image is cropped


Mountain Tulip

(Tulipa montana)

© 2020 Mahbod Mehrin – some rights reserved, CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Image is cropped


Sword Lily

(Gladiolus italicus)

Image by Hüseyin Cahid Doğan, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Image is cropped


Semitic poppy

(Papaver subpiriforme or Papaver umbonatum)




There are many species, the image is Palestinian Chamomile (Anthemis palestina) © 2022 centaur – some rights reserved, CC BY-NC 4.0

Image is cropped


And to add to this inconclusive identity of the lily are the original languages used in the books of the Bible. Does the Old Testament Hebrew word for lily have the same meaning as the Greek New Testament word?


The mystery grows!


Not being a botanist, plant specialist or student of ancient Hebrew and Greek, I am far from being able to say which plant has the most evidence to be the Biblical lily. However, I do find the evidence gathering to be interesting and appreciate the opportunity to study God’s Word from another perspective.


One of the earliest handbooks for travellers to the Holy Land was Flowers & Trees of Palestine by Augusta A Temple, which was published in 1908. It came from the author’s realisation that ‘no portable handbook containing a general list of Palestine flowers and trees existed’ when he toured Palestine in 1904. What he saw on that tour formed the foundation for a book of trees and flowers that ‘might be of use to future travellers in the Holy Land’, and he gave ‘special reference to those mentioned in the Bible’.


As this tour took place before modern agricultural practices would have been used across the country, it gives us a better picture of how the wildflowers may have looked in Jesus’ day.


In chapter one, ‘Characteristic Flowers of Palestine’, Temple says of the wildflowers he saw:

The flower that first strikes the eye in travelling through Palestine is the Anemone coronaria. It grows by the wayside, on the hills, and in every part of the country in bright profusion. In the plain of Gennesaret the anemone covers great stretches of land with its beautiful scarlet and white blossoms, and these are now generally identified with the ‘lilies of the field’ (Matt. vi. 28). Red is the prevailing colour, but white, blue, and purple are also abundant. The Arabs use the word susan (Hebrew shisan, translated ‘lily’ in the Bible) as a general term for flowers of the lily kind, such as tulip, iris, anemone, ranunculus, etc., and hence the references in the Old Testament—as, for instance, the ‘flowers of lilies’ used in the decoration of the temple built by Solomon (x Kings vii. 26), the ‘lily of the valleys’ of the Song of Solomon, the ‘lily’ of Hos. xiv. 5 (‘He shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon’), etc.—probably signified any or all of these.


He goes on to briefly describe various flowers in Palestine called lilies, and how they could all be candidates for the ‘lilies of the field’.


When my anemones flower, I won’t be able to describe them in the same manner as Temple because they won’t be spread across the fields, hills and plains of Palestine but, instead, just in a small pocket in a little garden in suburban Melbourne. Nonetheless, once I plant the corms, I’m looking forward to seeing my Anemone coronaria flowers as I cannot recall seeing any in the Holy Land when I visited in September 2019. This was during early autumn in the northern hemisphere, and it was between the flowering periods of the anemones. It was also only weeks before Covid-19 began transforming the whole world into a ‘no-go’ travel zone. Now, once again, travellers to the Holy Land can see the wildflowers that compete with one another for the title of ‘lilies of the field’.

Readers' Tips
  • Grow in full sun in well-draining soil.

  • Before planting the corms soak them in room temperature water for about 1–2 hours.

  • In the March 2023 issue of the ABC Gardening Australia magazine, there is a half-column summary about growing the Anemone coronaria on page 24  timely advice.

  • Start preparing the soil in March to receive the anemone corms and any spring bulbs you plan to plant.

  • Follow the directions for planting on the corm packaging, especially which way up to plant the corms.

  • The ABC Gardening Australia magazine has further tips for anemones in their latest April issue. These appear on page 80. One of the tips is to plant the corms with the points facing downwards.

  • Anemone corms can be stored at room temperature before being planted out.

  • Keep the planting area weed free.

  • Before planting, improve the soil with leaf mould or compost.

  • Anemones do not like wet feet, so do not overwater.

Please send your items of interest, gardening tips and experience of growing the Crown Anemone (anemone coronaria) so we will have plenty to share on this little plant during March.

Please send all contributions to

and use subject heading Gardens of Praise.

April Plant of the Month

Lily of the Valley

Start sending in your tips for this plant now






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