Thursday, May 2, 2013

That Which We Call A Lily...Zephyranthes atamasco

Late April showers bring forth one of our favorite native wildflowers, the atamasco lily. Known variously as Easter lily, rain lily or simply atamasco, this lovely lady is becoming more and more scarce due to habitat loss. 

Late yesterday, soccer practice sent us homeward via the rural byways of Chatham, where these lovelies luxuriated beneath the lightest little drizzle of raindrops.

Swaying gently in the breeze, they stood singly by the side of the road or gathered in small groups, the largest of which is pictured here. According to various sources, atamascos once formed colonies of thousands on suitable sites across the state, from the coastal plains into the mountain valleys.

These "atamasco meadows" as one famous NC botanist characterized them, are encountered rarely these days; but the lucky traveler, rambling North Carolina's rural byways around May Day, may be blessed with a tiny sampling of that long-lost visual feast.

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