Gift of the rain

rainlily.jpg Among the most wonderful of Texas wildflowers are the Habranthus or Zephyranthes or Cooperia blooms that spring up a few days after a drenching such as the one that we enjoyed late last week.

Most people call them rain lilies. There are large yellow ones (sometimes called copper lily), pink ones, and two sizes of white ones. The most common is the small white Cooperia drummondii. Whenever a flower’s scientific name has drummondii in it, there’s good reason to believe, without conducting any further research, that the plant originates in Texas, probably in the Hill Country, and was collected by and named for Thomas Drummond.

The flowers shoot up bare stalks, unfold into six-pointed blooms, close, and produce flat, papery black seeds that are scattered by the wind once dry. People who mow their lawns zealously probably never see these beautiful flowers. Hummingbirds are drawn by their scent and choose them even over Turk’s cap, their usual favorite. Austin’s own Tejas Native Bulbs is one source for rain lily bulbs in case the wind hasn’t brought any. Garden Bulbs of the South (by Scott Ogden) is an excellent book for those wishing to learn more about work-free flowers that do well around here. Get them into the ground and they take care of themselves forever.

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