Hymenocallis caroliniana

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: spider lily 
Type: Bulb
Family: Amaryllidaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 1.50 feet
Bloom Time: July to August
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium to wet
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Water Plant, Rain Garden
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Wet Soil


Best grown in medium to wet soils in full sun to part shade. Soils must never be allowed to dry out. Plant bulbs 4” deep and space 6-10” apart in fall. May not be reliably winter hardy throughout USDA Zone 5 where they should be grown in protected locations. Foliage remains green well after bloom.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Hymenocallis caroliniana, commonly called spider lily, is a Missouri native bulbous perennial which occurs in swamps and moist woods in the Mississippi lowlands area in the far southeastern corner of the State. It looks like a spidery daffodil with extremely narrow perianth (petal-like) segments. Features a basal clump of up to twelve (12) linear, strap-shaped, amaryllis-like leaves (each to 17” long) growing directly from a bulb. In summer, from the center of the foliage rises a solid scape to 22” which is topped by an umbel of 5-10 fragrant, white, spidery flowers (to 6” across). Each flower has six (6) extremely narrow, outward-spreading-to-reflexed perianth segments and a daffodil-like staminal center cup (corona). Flowers are followed by oval to spherical seed capsules. These plants are rare in the wild and should never be dug up for transplanting to a home garden. Synonymous with and sometimes sold as Hymenocallis occidentalis.

Genus name comes from the Greek words hymen meaning a membrane and kallos meaning beauty in allusion to the membrane uniting the stamens.

Specific epithet means of North or South Carolina.


No serious insect or disease problems. Snails, caterpillars and mealy bugs are occasional visitors.


Best in moist open woodland gardens, bog gardens or along streams and ponds. May be grown in a border as long as the soil moisture requirements can be met.