Zephyranthes atamasca

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Atamasco lily
Atamasco Lily (Rain Lily), Canady Branch, Francis Marion National Forest, South Carolina, USA.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Subfamily: Amaryllidoideae
Genus: Zephyranthes
Species: Z. atamasca
Binomial name
Zephyranthes atamasca
(L.) Herb.[1]

See article

Flower close-up
Atamasco or rain lilies blooming near the entrance to the caves at Florida Caverns State Park

Zephyranthes atamasca, commonly known as the atamasco-lily or more generally a rain-lily,[1] is native to the southeastern United States. It grows in swampy forests and coastal prairies, preferring acid boggy soils rich with leaf mold. Following the appearance of broad, grassy leaves in early winter, it blooms in March or April. It has several narrow, linear basal leaves about 0.5 in (13 mm) wide and 10–15 in (25–38 cm) long.[2] Its native range extends from Florida north to Maryland and west to Mississippi.[3] The species is also naturalized in Bermuda and in the Mariana Islands.[4]


The scientific name of this species has a somewhat complex history. In 1753, in the first edition of Species Plantarum, Carl Linnaeus placed it in the genus Amaryllis using the epithet "Atamasca" (the capital "A" showing that this was intended as a noun, not an adjective).[5] However, in the second edition of Species Plantarum, he changed the spelling to "Atamasco" (again with a capital "A").[6] "Atamasco" is the Native American name.[7] When in 1821, William Herbert transferred the species to his genus Zephyranthes he used Linnaeus's later spelling for the epithet, i.e. Zephyranthes atamasco,[8] this being the type species of the genus. Many sources have used this spelling subsequently. However, the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants conserves the type of Zephyranthes using the spelling atamasca.[1][9]


Synonyms include the following:[10]

Note: Amaryllis atamasco Blanco = Hippeastrum miniatum[11]
  • Amaryllis aramasco L., orth. var.
  • Amaryllis atanasia Crantz
  • Amaryllis pulchella Salisb.
  • Amaryllis verecunda Salisb.
  • Amaryllis virginiensis Oken
  • Atamasco atamasco (L.) Greene, nom. inval.
  • Zephyranthes atamasco var. minor Herb.


  1. ^ a b c "Zephyranthes atamasca". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  2. ^ "Atamasco Lily Wildflower". 
  3. ^ 1. Zephyranthes atamasca (Linnaeus) Herbert. Flora of North America
  4. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
  5. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1753). "Amaryllis". Species Plantarum. 1 (first ed.). p. 292. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  6. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1762). "Amaryllis". Species Plantarum. 1 (second ed.). p. 420. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  7. ^ Hyam, R. & Pankhurst, R.J. (1995). Plants and their names : a concise dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 536. ISBN 978-0-19-866189-4. 
  8. ^ Herbert, William (1821). "An appendix". Curtis's Botanical Magazine. London: James Ridgeway. 48: 36. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  9. ^ "Search for 'Zephyranthes' in 'Code Appendices'". Proposals and Disposals. Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  10. ^ "Zephyranthes atamasco (L.) Herb". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 9 Feb 2016 – via The Plant List. 
  11. ^ "Amaryllis atamasco". World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 2013-01-07. 
  • Garden Bulbs for the South (1994)

External links[edit]