The lily was dedicated to the goddess Hera, the wife of Zeus.
Legend has it that when Zeus fathered Hercules with the mortal woman Alceme, he wished his son to partake more fully of divinity.
To this end he had the baby brought to Hera after he drugged her to sleep. He had the baby placed at her breast and Hercules nursed. Hera awoke in horrified surprise and flung the baby from her. Some of her milk gushed across the heavens and formed the milky way. A few drops fell to earth and from those drops sprang the first lilies.