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Cooperia pedunculata (Hill country rain lily)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Cooperia pedunculata

Cooperia pedunculata Herb.

Hill Country Rain Lily, Prairie Lily, Rain Lily, Flor De Mayo

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Zephyranthes drummondii


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Rain lilies pop up and bloom two or three days after good rains in the spring and early summer. They begin to open slowly about dusk and are fully opened the next morning. Flowers are trumpet-shaped for a few hours after opening, but the 3 petals and 3 sepals, all white, spread widely to 2 inches across as they mature; they last only a day or two. The fragrant blossom is at the top of the single, unbranched stem, which is 6-12 inches high. The leaves are at the bottom, 6- 12 inches long and 1/4 inch wide.


From the Image Gallery

44 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall, occasionally taller.
Leaf: blue-green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Tends to have a main spring bloom season after significant rains trigger blooming with sporadic blooms that may occur over the rest of the growing season.


Native Distribution: Louisiana east to southwest Texas, south to Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico
Native Habitat: Prairies; open woodlands

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Clay. Clay Loam. Medium Loam. Sandy Loam. Limestone-based. Caliche type.
Conditions Comments: These bulbs produce blue-green grass like leaves with slightly fragrant, shimmering flowers, mainly in spring, that have a color that evolves over two days from white to silky light pink. Rain lilies make for nice surprises after a rain and combine well with plants that have short foliage, such as cardinal feather and silver ponyfoot. In flower beds, meadows, and pots, these rain lilies grow easily from bulbs. The flowers will last a little longer in shade. Plant 8 inches deep for more flowers. Plant 4 inch/shallow to increase the bulbs. This species typically blooms in the Spring, while C. drummondii blooms in the Fall.


Use Ornamental: Perennial garden, Showy, Shortgrass meadow, Can be mowed
Fragrant Flowers: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate


Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Fresh seed or mature bulb division.
Seed Collection: Collect seed several weeks after strong rains mainly in spring when they are near dry stage.
Seed Treatment: seed is not viable for too long after collection. Do not store long before planting.
Commercially Avail: yes
Maintenance: none to speak of except tidy up dead foliage and spent flower stalks if desired. Takes care of itself once established.

Find Seed or Plants

Order seed of this species from Native American Seed and help support the Wildflower Center.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Texas Master Naturalists - Lost Pines Chapter - Bastrop, TX
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX

Herbarium Specimen(s)

NPSOT 1019 Collected Apr 8, 1995 in Bexar County by Mike Fox
NPSOT 0579 Collected Mar 29,1990 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
NPSOT 0258 Collected Aug. 15, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth White

3 specimen(s) available in the Digital Herbarium

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-0127 Collected 2007-06-25 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 281 - Shinners & Mahler's Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas (1999) Diggs, G. M.; B. L. Lipscomb; B. O'Kennon; W. F...
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Cooperia pedunculata in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Cooperia pedunculata in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Cooperia pedunculata


Record Modified: 2023-02-01
Research By: TWC Staff, GDB

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