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Habranthus tubispathus 1.jpg
Habranthus tubispathus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Subtribe: Hippeastrinae
Genus: Habranthus
  • Zephyranthella (Pax) Pax
  • Haylockia Herb.
A group of Habranthus tubispathus blooming after a rain shower in Denton, Texas.

Habranthus (copperlily)[1] is a genus of tender herbaceous flowering bulbs in the subfamily Amaryllidoideae of the family Amaryllidaceae.[2] The genus was first identified by pioneering bulb enthusiast William Herbert in 1824. The species are native to the Americas, from (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), but several species are naturalized in other parts of the world West Indies, India, South Africa, Mauritius, Colombia, Easter Island, and the southeastern United States.[3]


Along with Zephyranthes and Cooperia, Habranthus is one of several related genera commonly known as rain lilies. All three have starry, funnel-shaped flowers and are native to tropical and semi-tropical regions of the Americas. Flowers are either solitary or in umbels of up to 4 flowers,[4] and typically appear in late spring through to autumn in response to rain. Individual bulbs are often capable of blooming more than once per year.[5]

Habranthus is distinct from Zephyranthes in holding its flowers at an angle rather than upright and in having unequal stamens.[6] It also has less symmetrical flowers.


At one stage, Habranthus was considered a subgenus of the closely related Hippeastrum.[7] Now it is located in tribe Hippeastreae, subtribe Hippeastrinae.


In the United States, Habranthus, like other rain lilies, is regarded as an "heirloom plant", although it is not widely used in mainstream landscapes, perhaps because its bloom time, dependent on rain, is erratic. Nevertheless, the bulbs are rugged and easy to grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10 and are recognized among bulb specialists as possessing distinct landscape value in appropriate areas of the world.[8] In colder regions they may be grown in sheltered sites, or in pots kept frost-free in winter.[6]

The most commonly grown species are the pink-flowered H. robustus and the yellow-flowered H. tubispathus.[6]

List of species[edit]

The list of species accepted by the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families as of May 2011 is shown below.[9]


  1. ^ "Habranthus". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  2. ^ Stevens, P.F., Angiosperm Phylogeny Website: Asparagales: Amaryllidoideae
  3. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Habranthus
  4. ^ Flagg, Raymond O.; Smith, Gerald L. & Flory, Walter S. (1982), "Habranthus", in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.), Flora of North America, Oxford University Press, p. 55, retrieved 2015-02-11
  5. ^ Fellers, John D. "A Passion for Rainlilies: Cooperia, Habranthus, and Zephyranthes." Herbertia 51, 1996, pp 78-112
  6. ^ a b c Mathew, Brian (1987), The Smaller Bulbs, London: B.T. Batsford, ISBN 978-0-7134-4922-8, p. 101
  7. ^ Baker, John Gilbert (1888). "Hippeastrum". Handbook of the Amaryllideæ including the Alstrœmerieæ and Agaveæ. London: Bell. p. 41. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  8. ^ Ogden, Scott. Garden Bulbs for the South. Dallas, TX: Taylor Publishing Co., 1994, pp 5-27
  9. ^ WCSP (2011), World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, retrieved 2011-05-23, search for "Habranthus"
  • Howard, Thad M. Bulbs for Warm Climates. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2001, pp 77–82.

External links[edit]