Rain Brings Rain Lilies (and Bees)

copper lily2
This is called a copper lily, but it’s in the rain lily family.

We had a big surprise rain event yesterday. No one was expecting it, but they were happy nonetheless. I hit some really hard rain in southern Milam County and was very glad for the rain mode in the car. There were waves on the road.

But the real topic today is rain lilies. Rain lilies (white ones) are a common plant around here. They pop up some time in summer, usually, in large masses after a good rain. I found it interesting that the Wildflower Center has two Latin names for rain lilies:
Cooperia pedunculata and Zephyranthes drummondii. Apparently, the ones that bloom in the spring are different from the ones that bloom in the fall (no clue what the summer ones are). It has some cool alternate names, too: Hill Country rain lily, Prairie lily, Rain lily, and Flor de mayo.

Here at the ranch, we have always had these really pretty yellow “rain lilies” that pop up around the same time as the white ones.

copper lily
Here they are in a field.

When they came up this year, of course the first thing I did was look them up on iNaturalist, which is how I found out they were called copper lilies or Rio Grande copper lilies (Habranthus tubispathus). It says they are escaped ornamental plants from Central America that have naturalized. I can’t imagine anyone planted them in our pasture, but who knows? They definitely seem to appear most often in Texas.

I collected seed from them once, to give to a friend, but then I didn’t see her for a long time. I’ll do it again this year and share more widely. These are beautiful, and seem to do well here, even though they aren’t supposed to like frost.

And Bees?

This weekend I did my best to get photos of insects. I’m going to try again. It’s very frustrating to see that I took a whole bunch of good insect photos a long time ago, but the ones on Facebook don’t have the GPS data. Hmm.

Anyway, I took a lot of pictures of bees and wasps around the sunflowers I planted. This was the most interesting to me:

sweat bee
The bee matches the flower, but you can see it!

Of course, I originally mis-identified it, but the iNaturalist reviewer said it is a kind of sweat bee, Dieunomia heteropoda. There have only been 16 observations of this bee, and one dude had 13 of them, so I feel special. This is one big sweat bee, though. I always thought they were small. I’m learning!

This weekend I am going to try to get some more bee and other insect photos. We have a LOT of different types at the ranch, which is a good thing for our flowers. (I have spared you the honeybee and bumblebee photos.)

Have a good week, everybody!

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

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