The Cahaba Lily is an aquatic flowering plant which grows only in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. A type of spiderlily belonging to the amaryllis family, the Cahaba lily is noted for the striking beauty of its three-inch-wide white flowers. The lily requires a very specialized habitat—swift-flowing water over rocks and lots of sun—and thus is restricted to shoal areas at or above the fall line.
The Cahaba lilies bloom from mid-May to mid-June (or Mother’s Day to Father’s Day). The best and largest populations in the Cahaba River are located in the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge.
How can I see Cahaba Lilies?
The Cahaba River Society provides naturalist-guided canoe trips to see the lilies on weekends throughout their blooming season and have for over 20 years. CRS provides all the needed equipment. Our naturalist, Dr. Randy Haddock, is a foremost expert about the Cahaba lilies – in fact, Randy’s nighttime, nimble-footed research on the lily shoals observed for the first time the primary pollinator of the lilies, the Plebian sphinx moth. His guided canoe trips are a delight – people learn all about the globally-significant biodiverse wildlife of the River as well. And get to sip lily nectar (tastes like orange-honeysuckle). The schedule of CRS Cahaba Lily Trips is posted in early spring of each year.
To visit the lilies on your own, you can take a trip to the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge located in Bibb County, Alabama, approximately six miles east of West Blocton on County Road 24.
Directions: from I-20/59 take Exit 97. River access is provided by a gravel road on the south (right) side of Bibb County Road 24 approximately 250 yards past the refuge entrance sign.
More information is available at the Refuge website.
How can I learn more about the Cahaba Lily?
Visit the Cahaba Lily Festival in West Blocton. This year’s festival will be held on the last Saturday of May.
You can also visit these online resources: