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This Elusive Flower Is About to Take The Internet By Storm – Coleman Concierge
From Mother’s Day to Father’s Day, a very special flower blooms in the Deep South – Cahaba Lilies. It’s a flower that only blooms for a few weeks a year and creates one of the most beautiful sights (and smells) you will ever experience. Join us as we learn more about the amazing Cahaba Lily, an inspiration to dreamers, poets, and nature lovers across the globe.
What Is a Cahaba Lily
From our How to See Cahaba Lillies article, the botanical name for the flowers is Hymenocallis coronaria, a type of spider lily. They present new, pure white flowers every morning that fade throughout the day. By evening, their scent fills the air with a sweet fragrance that attracts nocturnal pollinators like the plebeian sphinx moth.
Where Do Cahaba Lilies Grow?
Cahaba Lilies require sunlight, swift-moving water, and seasonal flooding to survive. At one time, you could find them in every river in the South East, particularly along the fall line between the Appalachian Highlands and the coastal plains. Now, only seventy-five or so stands remain across Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina because of habitat loss and water pollution.
What Is the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge?
The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge is a nearly 4,000 acres National Wildlife Refuge located in central Alabama, along the Cahaba River downstream from Birmingham, Alabama. It protects the largest remaining stand of Cahaba Lilies in the world.
What Happened to The Previous Largest Stand of Cahaba Lilies?
Squaw Shoals on the Black Warrior River used to be the world’s largest stand of Cahaba lilies. At one time, it held over a mile of flowers until it was dammed for flood control and navigation. Tragically, the lilly stand has flooded underneath Lock 17, and hasn’t flowered since the project completed.
What Can We Learn From Cahaba Lilies?
Cahaba Lilies require fresh water and rapids to survive. Pollution and human development has destroyed much of their habitat, which is some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Mile for mile, the Cahaba River is more biologically diverse than the Amazon or Congo Rivers. The damming of the nearby Coosa not only stopped the Cahaba Lilies from growing there, but sparked “one of the largest extinction rates in North America during the 20th century, with the extinction or extirpation of nearly 40 freshwater species.”
What’s Best Way to See Cahaba Lilies
You can see Cahaba Lilies from the shores in the National Wildlife Refuge, or by kayaking the river. You can also see them in other spots in Alabama such as the Tallapoosa River flowing into Lake Martin on the Harold Banks Canoe Trail.
What is the Cahaba Lily Festival
The Cahaba Lily Festival is an annual celebration of the lilies in West Blocton Alabama with music and keynote speakers. They also run trips to the refuge for people to see the Cahaba lilies in their natural habitat.
Do You Need A Boat to See Cahaba Lilies?
You don’t need a boat to see Cahaba lilies. There are several spots where you can see them from the shores in the National Wildlife Refuge. However, you will not be able to reach Hargrove Shoals without a boat. Also, the weekends during the blooming season are very busy, so it is best to come during the mornings or afternoons.
How to See Cahaba Lillies
The Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge protects the largest stand of Cahaba lilies in the world at Hargrove Shoals. In this detailed article we’ll tell you how to see the Cahaba lily blooms at Hargrove Shoals and why they are essential to Alabama!
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