ShadyGardens Blog

May 28, 2014

Rare White Spider Lilies: Hymenocallis coronaria

Filed under: Uncategorized — shadygardens @ 1:32 pm
Hymenocallis coronaria Shoal Lilies at Flat Shoals Creek

Hymenocallis coronaria Shoal Lilies at Flat Shoals Creek

This weekend we had the opportunity to visit a local property that is blessed with the very rare Hymenocallis coronaria. We call them Shoal Spider Lilies, because they are growing in Flat Shoals Creek, but this same plant is called Cahaba Lilies in Alabama, since they are growing there in the Cahaba River.

These Flat Shoals Lilies, as I call them, bloom only once a year. The blooms last 2 or 3 weeks, depending on the weather. This year, they bloomed a little later than normal because our winter was so reluctant to leave.

Hymenocallis coronaria resembles an amaryllis and is in the same family. Large white blooms about 3 inches wide are quite showy and held above tall stems. Foliage is strappy, like a lily.


The Shoal Lilies grow in full sun in the fast-moving water of rivers and large creeks.

The flowers attract a variety of pollinators but are especially enjoyed by the Pipevine Swallowtail.

Hymenocallis coronaria is found in only 3 Southern states: Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. This lily species is threatened due to several practices caused by us humans. The damming of rivers has caused the greatest threat, but pollution of the rivers caused by development, logging, and mining as well as poaching have also played a part in the reduction of Shoal Lily populations. Poaching is when an individual takes a plant or animal and sells it or uses it to his own advantage without consideration for the actual animal or plant itself. When a plant is listed on the threatened or endangered list, one should not dig it to take to his own garden or sell to others. This is practice is wrong and I believe punishable by law.

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