Hymenocallis occidentalis

Photographs belong to the photographers who allow use for FNPS purposes only. Please contact the photographer for all other uses.

Northern Spider-lily


Also known as Hymenocallis occidentalis var. occidentalis

Plant Specifics

Size:1-2 ft tall. 1-1.5 ft wide.  Forms clumps.
Life Span:Long-lived perennial
Flower Color:White
Phenology:In Florida, winter dormant (has bulbs). However, the new leaves appear in midwinter. Flowering begins in early July in northern Florida and extends through September.
Noted for:Aroma, fragrance, Showy flowers


Recommended Uses:

Houseplant, water garden, bog garden, stream edge

Considerations:Bulb is poisonous.
Propagation:Seed, division of clumps.
Availability:Native nurseries, Quality nurseries
Light: Full Sun,  Part Shade
Moisture Tolerance:
always floodedextremely dry
 (Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry)
Moisture Tolerance: Usually moist, occasional inundation ----- to ----- Not wet but not extremely dry
Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:Unknown
Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:Unknown
Soil or other substrate:Pond, lake, or stream bottom, Loam, Organic material (muck), Sand
Soil pH:Acidic to neutral


Native Habitats:Floodplains and nearby forested uplands

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida
USDA Zones

Suitable to grow in:
8A 8B 

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures


Ethnobotany:Hymenocallis occidentalis has a long history of cultivation in southern gardens and is grown well beyond its native range.  The Flora of North America references a plant, harvested from the wild near Evergreen, Alabama and planted at the Henry Foundation’s southern garden in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania, which has not only survived but bloomed prolifically for over 40 years.
General Comments:The natural range of this species includes parts of the eastern panhandle, but overall, it is a southern coastal plain and Mississippi Valley species whose range extends from South Carolina to Texas and up the Mississippi Valley as far north as southern Illinois and Indiana.