This cultivar is classified as a Species Lilium, as it was discovered by Ernest Henry Wilson during 1903 in west Szechuan, along the Min River, in China. He revisited the site in 1908 to collect more bulbs, but most of them rotted while en route back to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. In 1910 he returned to the Min valley, but this time his leg was crushed during an avalanche of boulders as he was carried along the trail in his sedan chair. After setting his leg with the tripod of his camera, it took him three days to make it back to civilization. Thereafter he walked with what he called his "lily limp". It was this third shipment of bulbs that successfully introduced the Regale Lily into cultivation in the United States.
Sometimes species lilies can be temperamental and slow to adapt to conditions outside of their native environment. But the Regale Lily has adapted to our growing conditions, is readily available from bulb growers, and tends to provide a nice show of blooms each year.