Herb: Atamasco Lily

Latin name: Zephyranthes atamasca

Synonyms: Amaryllis atamasca

Family: Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis Family)

Edible parts of Atamasco Lily:

Bulb - cooked. It is used as an emergency food when better foods are in short supply. The bulb is up to 3cm long. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Damp woods.

Propagation of Atamasco Lily:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Sow the seed thinly so that the seedlings can be left undisturbed in the pot for their first year of growth. Give them an occasional liquid feed in the growing season to ensure they do not become nutrient deficient. When the plants become dormant in the summer, pot up the small bulbs placing 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another one or two years in the greenhouse before planting them out when they are dormant in late summer. Division of offsets after the plant dies down in late spring or early summer. Larger bulbs can be planted out direct into their permanent positions whilst it is best to pot up the smaller bulbs and grow them on in the greenhouse for a year before planting them out.

Cultivation of the herb:

Damp woods.

Medicinal use of Atamasco Lily:

None known

Known hazards of Zephyranthes atamasca:

The bulb contains toxic compounds. Horses are said to get the staggers (a cerebrospinal disease) from eating the leaves and bulbs.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.