Atamasco Rain Lily

It’s so rare that I find an actual native species, I get excited about it, even if it’s “just” a flower! This single, lone Atamasco rain-lily (Zephyranthes atamasca) was all by itself in the lawn of a small park on Easter Sunday, 2020, during the coronavirus panic. A little sign that, despite everything, life goes on.

These cute little flowers get bigger than this — I caught this one shortly after it opened. They bloom only after a nice, drenching spring shower, hence the name. When not in bloom, they blend into the grass, as they have vertical, blade-like leaves. Flowers can be pure white, or white with a bit of pink as shown here. An individual plant will produce flowers only through spring and early summer, over the period of about a month.

Rain-lilies are perennial evergreens which grow from bulbs.

Despite being a threatened species in the wild, Atamasco rain-lilies are popular garden plants, and are propagated and available commercially. They’re extremely hardy and tolerant, good over a wide range of shade and sun, and are great plants to choose for Florida landscaping, as they are actually natives. However, their leaves and bulbs are poisonous.

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