Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
5 ratings

Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Columbia, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Propagation, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Propagation of Cahaba lily from Columbia TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My cahaba lilies have so many seed pods. I would like to use the seeds properly to grow more lilies. Can anyone tell me the best way to go about it? Thank you

ANSWER:

Although Hymenocallis coronaria, Cahaba Lily, is apparently native to North America, that is, native to major river systems of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, we did not find it in our Native Plant Database. This is a work in progress and we continue to add to it as we can. From The Encyclopedia of Alabama on Cahaba Lily, we learned:

"The Cahaba lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) is an aquatic flowering plant native to the major river systems of Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. A type of spiderlily belonging to the amaryllis family, the Cahaba lily is noted for the striking beauty of its three-inch-wide white flowers. The lily requires a very specialized habitat—swift-flowing water over rocks and lots of sun—and thus is restricted to shoal areas at or above the fall line. In Alabama, the Cahaba lily is restricted to the Black Warrior, Cahaba, Coosa, Tallapoosa, and Chattahoochee river systems. Plant bulbs and seeds spend the winter buried in the rocky riverbed. There the water's current securely wedges the seeds and bulbs into the rock crevices. Leaves begin to emerge above the water line in mid-April, following the spring floods (dates are approximately two weeks later in eastern Georgia and South Carolina). Flower stalks develop after the leaves are fully emerged, with each stalk capped by six to nine buds surrounded by protective casings called bracts. Flowering commences in mid-May, reaching its peak in late May and early June, with sporadic flowering until late June."

In the first place, Tennessee is not mentioned in the habitats of this lily. In the second place, it appears the plant arranges its own propagation, thank you very much. If your seeds are not dropping into a swift current with rocks at the bed of the river that will trap the seeds and bulbs, they will probably not germinate.

Pictures of Cahaba Lily

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Hummingbird Bushes for Broken Arrow OK
August 27, 2014 - I am looking for bushes that attract hummingbirds. I live in Broken Arrow, OK. Can you recommend some?
view the full question and answer

Need ground cover plants to grow in the shade a large oak in San Antonio, TX
March 09, 2015 - We have a large backyard in San Antonio covered with live oak and red oak. Since grass does not do well in this shade / bright shade area I would like to plant a low growing ground cover and then add...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back perennials from Austin
February 08, 2011 - When is it time to cut back native plants; salvia;copper canyon daisy; verbena, etc?
view the full question and answer

Project on natives in Connecticut from Chino CA
April 13, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My 10 yr. old daughter is doing a project on Ct., and would like to know what the most common plants, trees and flowers are found in this state. A few of each would be a great ...
view the full question and answer

Using a brush hog on acreage on Bear Creek in Austin, TX.
July 25, 2012 - We have 8 acres off 1826 situated on Bear Creek. It has open areas with scattered large trees (cedar elm, live oak, white oak). Cedars or junipers only along the the lot lines. We've been told we...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.