Lilies and tulips (Liliaceae family) are economically very important ornamental bulbous plants. Here, we summarize major breeding goals, the role of an integrated method of cut-style pollination and fertilization followed by embryo rescue and mitotic and meiotic polyploidization involved in new assortment development. Both crops have been subjected to extensive interspecific hybridization followed by selection. Additionally, spontaneous polyploidization has played a role in their evolution. In lilies, there is a tendency to replace diploids with polyploid cultivars, whereas in tulip a majority of the cultivars that exist today are still diploid except for triploid Darwin hybrid tulips. The introduction of molecular cytogenetic techniques such as genomic in situ hybridization (GISH) permitted the detailed studies of genome composition in lily and tulip interspecific hybrids and to follow the chromosome inheritance in interspecific crosses. In addition, this review presents the latest information on phylogenetic relationship in lily and tulip and recent developments in molecular mapping using different DNA molecular techniques.
Keywords: GISH; Lilium; Phylogeny; Tulipa; chromosome; interspecific hybridization.