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White Flowers Is Spider Lily (Hymenocallis lirisome)

Ask the Expert: Help identifying flower

Hymenocallis liriosme - Spider Lily

Hymenocallis liriosme - Spider Lily

This one popped up in our pasture all by itself at the base of a shady hill. No others like it around. It’s about 18 inches high, with no leaves, just the hollow stalk.
Look familiar? David

Plant Expert Reply:

Do you come from a large family? Well this flower does (Amaryllidaceae).  As a result many of the members have the same common name or nickname.  For this plant the common name is Spider lily and is used in association with other plants in the family. Besides spider lily, the flower goes by spring spider lily.

With plants the advantage is every plant must have a botanical name that is associated with them only.  In this case, it is Hymenocallis liriosme.  It is a native plant in AR , LA , MS , OK,  and  TX; growing flood plains, bottomland, ditches, ravines, repressions, marshes, stream banks, prairie, plains, meadows, pastures, and savannahs.  They originate from bulbs and are aromatic with a lemony scent.


  1. Debbie West says:

    I just saw this plant in a wooded area near our house. Must have been thrown out as it was in a clump and no others anywhere around. We have the red variety in different flower beds in our yard as I just love the way they pop up in the fall, then stay green all winter.

  2. The picture is wonderful, I wish to see this flower in reality, it looks brilliant…

  3. I am hoping you can help me. One of my spider lillies looks very unhealthy. at this time the color is paler thant the other i have throught my yard. There is a bad odor coming from it.. to me is smells like tabacco. I think it is dying, there are also some brown dean leaves. I do not know if it is root rot or what is wrong, but i would like to salvage this plant.

    any suggestions?

  4. It sounds like a fungal problem. The best approach is to remove any plants that are soft and mushy and then apply a fungicide.

  5. Christine says:

    Finally found what these big white flowers are! I have one growing across from my canal on Lake Griffin in Lady Lake, Florida. No idea where it came from. This place is isolated. Only one plant with three flower heads. Bloomed last spring and now again. Cool!

  6. That’s great Christine! These are really unique and beautiful flowers.

  7. I had this flower. Was a bulb given by my former mother-in-law. I literally watched the blooms open, saw them move and spring open. Awesome! Left the original with my ex. Would like another bulb. Anyone know where to find one?

  8. Deborah, this is a fairly common flower you might be able to find it at a local garden center (check there before you check at the big box stores). Your garden center will have the freshest and most quality bulbs available. This is a summer-blooming flower so you will need to plant the bulb in the springtime. If you can’t find the bulbs locally, your garden center may be able to special order them for you, or you could look online at sites like http://www.hollandbulbfarms.com/ — Hope this helps!

  9. Katy Gammons says:

    My husband and I recently moved into his Grandparents old home and these lilies are everywhere! They lost everything in the flood of 2010 in TN so my husband completely gutted and remodeled the house and we just moved in last week. As soon as I pulled in the driveway, my eye went straight to these strange but beautiful sweet smelling flowers. Of course I asked my husband’s grandfather what they were and he said he didn’t know, that his wife and he were walking in the woods behind their house and they spotted it growing all by itself in the middle of weeds and trees. They hurried home and got a shovel and dug it up that day and planted it right outside their house that we live in now. Well, that was about 20 years ago so now they have multiplied! Unfortunately some were lost in the flood but I’ll get them back:) As of right now, I can count atleast 7 individual plants(I would have more but, thanks to the city of Hickman, TN, they mowed them down!!!). I plan on digging up the bulbs this fall and moving them to a safer area. I also plan on getting my Granddaddy-in-law to take me to the exact spot they found them and hope there are more growing! I’ll let ya know and send a pic if I do find some! Hope u have a great day and always remember to stop and smell the flowers every once in awhile…….life goes by too fast and we need to stop and enjoy the little things life has to offer! God Bless everyone:)

    Attached Image: Spider lily.jpg

  10. Have been trying to find where to order these. They act just like the pink surprise lilies, but do not look like them in bloom.

    I have one bulb – would love to get more.

    My aunt dug up bulb in the “wild” in TN

  11. Helen,

    Try your local garden center first. If they don’t carry them try an online bulb company like Southern Bulbs Company. I personally have not purchased plants from them before, but I do believe they carry the spider lilies.

  12. Katy,

    What a great story. Please do let us know how everything turns out.

  13. bil leggett says:

    I have bed of these flowers and I think it is a first cousin to the amaryllis. I got mine started from weson ms, they wee growing on a hard clay gravel hill in hot mississippi sun. I put 6 or 8 bulbs in a bed and every 2 to 2 1/2 years there will be about 75 in a 3 foot dia bed and i give them away. they are beautiful when they bloom.good luck.

  14. bil leggett says:

    I forgot to say that these flowere have the same blade type as the amaryllis with the tall tubular bloom stalk

  15. Sounds like a very beautiful flower bed, Bil!

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