Zephyranthes atamasca (L.) Herb.
Atamasco Lily, Rain Lily
Liliaceae (Lily Family)
Synonym(s): Amaryllis atamasca, Atamosco atamasca, Zephyranthes atamasca var. atamasca
USDA Symbol: ZEAT
Atamasco-lilies are 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 flowerstalk, usually single and about as tall as the leaves, bears white lily-like flower, 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.
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Size Notes: Normally 8 to 15 inches tall.
Flower: Flowers 3 to 4 inches long
Size Class: 0-1 ft. , 1-3 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Though flower is usually white, there are some with pale pink flowers.
DistributionUSA: 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 ConditionsWater 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.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Provides vivid white blooms in the shade of Southeastern gardens.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
PropagationPropagation 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
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
BibliographyBibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
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Research LiteratureReslit 180 - The Breeding System of Zephyranthes atamasco (Amaryllidaceae) (1991) S. B. Broyles and R. Wyatt
Reslit 450 - Delineation and Distribution of Zephyranthes Species (Amaryllidaceae) Endemic to the Southeastern United States (2008) R. O. Flagg and G. L. Smith
Reslit 1216 - Soil pasteurization and inoculation with Glomus intraradices alters flower production and bulb composition of Zephyranthes spp (2003) C. F. Scagel
Reslit 1310 - Challenges associated with micropropagation of Zephyranthes and Hippesatrum sp (Amaryllidaceae) (1999) R. H. Smith, J. Burrows and K. Kurten
Reslit 1992 - Propagation of Zephyranthes through tissue culture (1987) P. A. Philomena, B. P. Gunaseeli and B. V. David
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Zephyranthes atamasca in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Zephyranthes atamasca in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Zephyranthes atamasca
MetadataRecord Modified: 2015-03-31
Research By: TWC Staff