The First of the Ditch Diamonds

You probably won’t find ‘ditch diamonds’ listed in any field guide to native plants. It’s my personal descriptor for a wide variety of wildflowers that prefer the damp — even wet — growing conditions that ditches generally provide.

Blue Flags, Water Canna, Alligator Flag, and Arrowhead are spring and summer delights that can be found in the ditches, along with the widespread and beloved Spider Lily (Hymenocallis liriosme) shown above. A common sight in coastal and southeastern Texas, it blooms from February through September, although our freezing weather slowed its emergence this year.

Still, the operative word is ‘slowed,’ not ‘stopped.’ Yesterday morning, as I traveled FM 2004 outside the town of Lake Jackson, a bit of white caught my eye. It was a single spider lily plant, in full bloom. Apart from the delight of finding my first ditch diamond of the year, I was amused by the timing. Commenting on my recent post about the cranefly orchid, Steve Schwartzman mentioned that our part of the state has another plant named for an insect: the spider lilies. Ever helpful, nature provided an example within twenty-four hours.

In time, ditches will fill with hundreds of these plants. For now, this single lovely specimen serves as a reminder that even when delayed, spring will not be denied.


Comments always are welcome.