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Zephyranthes atamasca (Atamasco lily)
Cressler, Alan

Zephyranthes atamasca

Zephyranthes atamasca (L.) Herb.

Atamasco Lily, Rain Lily

Liliaceae (Lily Family)

Synonym(s): Amaryllis atamasca, Atamosco atamasca, Zephyranthes atamasca var. atamasca


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Small, colony-forming perennials, 8-15 in. tall, with thick, shiny, grooved, grass-like leaves forming loose clumps. Solitary flowers are borne on leafless stalks. The showy flowers are white (rarely pink), with six distinct lobes, united to form a funnel. They turn pink with age. From an underground bulb grow several flat leaves; leafless flower stalk, usually single and about as tall as the leaves, bears white lily-like flowers, tinged with pink.

The genus name alludes to Zephyrus, in Greek myth the west wind and husband of Chloris, goddess of flowers. Blooming generally around Eastertime, these flowers are popularly known as Easter Lilies. The species name, derived from a Powhatan word meaning "stained with red," describes the flower.


From the Image Gallery

22 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Usually 8 to 15 inches tall.
Flower: Flowers 3 to 4 inches long.
Fruit: Black.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Jan , Feb , Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Usually white, sometimes tinged or veined pink.


USA: AL , FL , GA , MD , MS , NC , SC , VA
Native Distribution: Southeast VA to FL & MS
Native Habitat: Ditches; wet woods; meadows; bottomlands; limestone outcrops; bluffs

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Moist, humus-rich soils. Prefers acidic soils but also found on limestone.
Conditions Comments: Will bloom best with 1 to 2 hours of direct sun or 3 or more hours of dappled light. Not hardy where ground freezes deeply. Tolerates seasonal flooding.


Use Ornamental: Provides vivid white blooms in the shade of Southeastern gardens.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed or division of mature clumps. Sow stored seed indoors or in a cold frame in late winter. Seeds sown upon collection should be planted in an outdoor bed. Mature plants can be increased by separating the basal offsets or dividing the cl
Seed Collection: Flowers are followed in 5-6 weeks by a green capsule. The plant is not conspicuous at this time so it should be marked when flowering. Allow the seeds to turn black before collecting. This should be in the first week of June. Store dry in a sealed, refrigerated container.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

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

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski

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


Record Modified: 2023-04-12
Research By: TWC Staff

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