One Lily, Two Views

Evening rain lily  ~ Zephyranthes chlorosolen

If rain lilies forcing their way through a construction site’s packed dirt exemplify nature’s energy and exuberance, this solitary lily is pure elegance.

Blooming undisturbed and undamaged at the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge, it seemed to demand a photo session. After all,  for white flower lovers, there never can be too many rain lilies.


Comments always are welcome.

56 thoughts on “One Lily, Two Views

  1. Did you detect a fragrance from this rain lily? Sometimes I do, other times not. Whether that depends on the flower, my nose, or both, remains uncertain. I’ve also noticed plenty of variation in how prominent the reproductive parts are.

    1. I’ve never caught a hint of fragrance from a single lily. Usually, it takes a fairly large colony for the scent to be discernible. If it’s a humid, windless morning, it can be quite strong as it lingers above the flowers. As for variation, I’m constantly amazed by the number of ways in which these quite simple flowers differ from one another.

    1. That’s so true. Even flowers that aren’t traditionally ‘beautiful’ are complex and interesting, and so well designed for their primary purpose: making more flowers.

    1. Are you getting more wildflowers now that your derecho-cleared land has had some time to develop? It’s always interesting to see what pops up at the refuges after a prescribed burn. I’ve seen fields of spider lilies, blue stars, and rattlesnake master emerge when the conditions change.

      1. There are more goldenrod, white snakeroot, and jumpseed. The sticktights are happy. But, the garlic mustard has decreased. Plus, since the locust trees were badly damaged, there are sprouts coming up from the roots in large numbers.

        1. More goldenrod’s always a plus in my book. I was surprised at the decrease in the garlic mustard. People always are trying to find a way to discourage that invasive. May its decrease increase!

          1. Garlic mustard likes the partial shade areas at the edges. Our limb and tree loss seems to have disrupted some of that. Plus, we have been steadfast in pulling it out each year. Less to do this year. I’m good with that.

  2. Rain lilies are one of my favorites. My white domestic ones bloomed after the rain. The wild ones that used to grow near my house had a wonderful scent. Unfortunately, one group had a house built on it, and the other is mowed.

    1. Construction and mowing: two insults that are hard to get over. For a while, native yellow rain lilies showed up in a couple of local spots, but I’ve not seen them this year. They were all over the yard of a blogger in the Wharton area: lucky lady.

    1. That sudden appearance is part of their charm. They can attract the attention even of people who generally pay little or no attention to flowers. When they spring up in the medians around here, I’ll sometimes spot a driver at a stoplight staring at them as if to say, “What IS that?”

    1. That’s how I feel when the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush cover our land. The fact that these are so unpredictable makes their appearance even more delightful, whether a few or a few hundred appear.

  3. It’s hard to think o them as ephemera but compared to perennials and such as trees, they are. What a lovely dialog, though. God says rain, and the earth says rain lilies.

    1. In human terms, call and response shows up everywhere from worship to work crews — even sea shanties use the form. It’s fun to think of the world at large demonstrating the same responsiveness in rain and rain lilies. There surely are other examples: the call of the moon and the movement of the tides come to mind.

    1. It’s always fun to find a ‘perfect’ flower in bloom. The simple form and pristine whiteness are even more striking when no bug has shown up to nibble on those petals.

    1. That’s right. What’s especially fun about them is that they often stand as proof of rain. When I went to the refuge, I’d been wondering if any of our recent storms had watered that land, since the radar hadn’t indicated it. When I found rain lilies scattered around, there was no question that at least some rain had come.

    1. And short-lived, too. I was pleased to find this one at the height of its bloom, before it had incurred damage from insects or begun to fade. My impression is that these last only a day or two before those pretty petals begin to fold.

    1. Thanks, Steve. When I found this one, I thought it came close to representing the very essence of ‘rain lily,’ and there was nothing for it but to try making a photo or two.

  4. It is always a pleasant surprise to find rain lilies in bloom. It shouldn’t be. They are pretty reliable bloomers following a good amount of rain. And usually in the same places. I guess because they only offer a glimpse of their elegance for a short time and then disappear, I am surprised to see one.

    One lily, two views. Never enough. Always a joy.

    Your photographs clearly demonstrate why we love this small plain flower.

    1. I wonder if they’re more common, or at least more predictable, in your area. Around here, although they’re just as liable to pop up in the hill country as on Galveston Island, they seem quite unpredictable. I suppose everything from temperature to soil moisture to the wretched mowers make a difference from place to place. On the other hand, I’ve gotten the impression that in central Texas they’re more apt to show up in large colonies.

      In any event, they’re simple, they’re white, they often host cute little bugs, and they smell good. What’s not to like?

  5. I am always ready to admire a lily, Linda, and you did this one justice. Did it live up to its name and come after a rainfall?

    1. It sure did. It takes a few days for them to appear, but it’s always rain that brings them into bloom. There’s some variation in the timing, but a few days seems common — and they never pop up until after a rain. On the other hand, our cenizo, aka the ‘barometer bush,’ always blooms before rain. It seems to be the rising humidity that triggers it. Many people consider the barometer bush a silly myth, but I believe!

    1. I like to call them ‘accidental gardens,’ although the ‘accidental’ aspect is from the human perspective. The plants around us may know precisely what they’re doing! I’ve seen things like silverleaf nightshade grow up through asphalt at road edges. ‘Determined’ is just the right word.

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