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Atamasco Lily
Zephyranthes atamasca

What a lovely little native lily! I was super excited to find this little plant on the side of the road. My hope is to propagate many more of these for a native plant garden. The leaves and bulbs contain toxic alkaloids, so most herbivores avoid this plant, which is good when you have so many deer and rabbits around.

The genus name “zephyranthes” alludes to Zephyrus, which in Greek mythology is both the west wind, and the husband of Chloris, the goddess of flowers. The species name “atamasca” is derived from a Powhatan words meaning “stained with red,” which describes the flower. However the flowers I’ve seen are pretty stark white, so, hmmm.

Alternate Names: Rain Lily, Easter Lily
Size: 6"-15" tall
Family: Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis Family)
Habitat: Alluvial forests, wet meadows and roadsides, prefers partial shade.
Identification:  Thick, shiny, grooved grass-like leaves form loose clumps. The solitary flowers are white and form a funnel, might turn slightly pink with age. There are no leaves on the flower stalk. The fruit is a thin-walled capsule that splits to release shiny black seeds. It can also spread through underground bulbs.
All text and photos copyright © 2022 Middle Way Nature Reserve, unless noted.
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