The Cahaba Lily

Cahaba Lily 1


The Cahaba lily is an aquatic, perennial flower that is found only in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. Within Alabama, it is known as the Cahaba lily, and elsewhere it is either known as the Shoal lily or Shoals spider-lily. It requires a swift, shallow, water current and direct sunlight to flourish. The plant grows to about 3 feet tall and develops from a bulb that lodges in cracks in rocky shoals. It blooms from early May to late June. Each flower blossom opens overnight and only last for one day.

 Cahaba Lily 2


There is said to be only approximately 50 populations left, in these three states. The three largest remaining populations are located in the Cahaba River in Alabama, the Catawba River in South Carolina, and in the Flint River in Georgia.



Cahaba Lily 3


I had been planning to attend a trip to West Blocton to photograph these lilies during the Cahaba Lily Festival scheduled last Saturday with a few members of our camera club. Things began falling apart when more storms moved into the area Friday night. In the end, I either missed them or they decided to back out at the last moment.


 Cahaba Lily 4


After arriving, I put on my rubber boots and started wadding out toward the middle of the river. Then a few minutes later I begin hearing the thunder rolling in the distance. I decided that it might be best if made my exit out of the river while I still had a little time. I drove down to the end of the dirt road and spent a little while hiking around the banks.


 Cahaba Lily 5


The thunder stopped about as fast as it started and never presented any problem except for some light rain. A while later the sun began to break through the clouds.  As I was preparing to entered back into the river I was questioned by a friendly game warden, if I was fishing. For you all who might be familiar with Bill Engvall, I felt like saying, “Sure I’ve got line on the end of my tripod. Here’s your sign.” I did capture a few images of several swimming along the banks, I wonder if that counted?



 Butterfly  6


Then I decided to take a short video with the peaceful river sounds in the background and wouldn’t you know that some guy picks this time fires up his hover craft. On one hand it is a very interesting and cool boat, on the other, I just didn’t feel like it was the time or the place. So I packed up and called it a day.



hover craft



6 thoughts on “The Cahaba Lily

    1. Thank you Len. That’s makes perfect sense to me. Cindy and I noticed earlier this year that Savannah seems to be located in a climate zone where everything is about two weeks or so ahead of us. For an example, our azalea were just starting to bloom good and in Savannah a lot of them were close to the end of their cycle.

  1. Very nice Phillip as always. Beautiful lily. I’ll have to see if we have any in north Alabama. Love the butterfly/moth shot.

    1. I couldn’t have planned that ending. A Hovercraft! Really, who brings a big boat to a place like this? The water was up and it never got above my knees. Not that there aren’t deeper places elsewhere in the river. But this river is more like a big creek compared to the other rivers in the state. Just because you can, doesn’t mean that you should.

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