Spider Lily - Shoals Lily - Cahaba Lily
(Woodland Spider Lily - Northern Spider Lily - Swamp Spider Lily)
Hymenocallis occidentalis - (Le Conte) Kunth
Lilaceae (Lily) Family


Choctaw Spider Lily, H. choctawensis, Syn: eulae

Plant is an upright, smooth perennial from a bulb. Its preferred habitat is moist woods, wet roadsides and the margin of lakes and ponds. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.

The leaves are basal; linear; no teeth and no lobes, present at time of flowering.

Flower is an umbel at the end of a stem; usually 3-7 flowers per umbel. Sepals and petals are united below and flaring upward to form a cup-like corolla. Color is white. Flowers occur in the spring.

Fruit is a capsule.

Note the difference in the two images above. The upper image has numerous basal leaves at the time the flower emerges. The lower image has none, thus the change in species name.

Most Alabamians are apt to call it Cahaba Lily due to its large populations in the shoals of the Cahaba River in Central Alabama. The same flower is also found on other streams in Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and parts of North Carolina, where it's known as the Shoal Lily or Shoals spider-lily. In fact, this lily was first observed by naturalist William Bartram in 1783 in the Savannah River near Augusta, Ga. Whatever the name, these unique aquatic plants require clean, swift water and rocky shoals to thrive. When they bloom in May and June (usually between Mother's Day and Father's Day) each year, thousands of people make pilgrimages to canoe or wade into Alabama's streams to take in a spectacular panorama. -- "Rivers in Bloom" by David Haynes.

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