The Cahaba Lily

(Hymenocallis coronaria)

The copyright, to the photos on this page, belongs to Greg Evans

From early May to late June, the shoals of the Cahaba River are transformed into a showcase of floral delight as the rare Cahaba Lily blooms.  Found only in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina; the Cahaba Lily requires swift current and direct sunlight to flourish.  The largest stand of this flower in the world is located at Hargrove Shoals, about 2.4 miles south of a good canoe put in located at the Co. Rd. 24 bridge near Piper, AL.

The plant grows to about 3' tall and develops from a bulb that lodges in between rocks in the shoals.  It flowers from roughly between Mother's Day and Father's Day.  Each delicate, lightly fragranced flower blooms for one day.

Please do not pick the lilies or remove the bulbs for transplantation. The plant might survive 1-2 years out of its proper habitat, but the prospect for long-term survival is slim. Besides, the most beautiful place to see the Cahaba Lily is in its natural habitat. 

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Lonesome Bloom

The above photographs was made on 4/14/06 and is one of the first Lilys to bloom in 2006.  Over the next several weeks, the area of the river around the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge will fill with this unique aquatic flower providing an opportunity to view this Alabama treasure.  See below for information on how to view this flower.  Make sure you check out the Cahaba River Society's schedule of guided trips/

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The Cahaba River Society provides "guided" canoe trips to see the Lily.  For a schedule of these trips, view THIS page.

DIRECTIONS TO SEE THE CAHABA LILIES

  1. Take I-59 south from Birmingham for about 30 miles to the Highway 5 West Blocton/Centreville exit.
  2. Hwy 5/Hwy 11 is 4-lane for about 3 miles where Hwy 5 turns abruptly south as a 2-lane. Watch for this turn!
  3. Travel 10 miles south on Hwy 5 to a Blinking yellow light. Turn left (onto county road 24) to West Blocton.
  4. Continue straight at the stop sign (passing West Blocton High School and West Blocton Elementary on the right) for 5 miles to the Cahaba River.
  5. A couple of hundred yards before you can actually see the bridge, turn south (right) on a dirt/gravel road which runs along the west side of the river. This is the new Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge.
  6. There is a good stand of lilies just under 1 mile down the road, and the largest stand in the world just over 2 miles down the road.

 

Send mail to gevans@vis-info.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright 2000-2011 Vision Information Systems.  Editor:  Greg Evans