Rain lilies and Puffballs

Rain lilies (Zephyranthes candida)

One of the happy sights at this time of year is the bright white flowers of the rain lilies that testify that you really have gotten some rain after a long dry spell.  These flowers, like super-sized crocus, are always a surprise even when you know that you planted them.  There are many plants in this genus and the related Habranthus that go collectively by the name rain lilies because of their habit of going dormant before shooting up there flowers after a rain.  While they all have merits in the garden these little white guys are my personal favorites.

Another occasional surprise after early fall rains are the puffballs that can sometimes spring up in the pasture.  You never know where they will appear although there seems to be some tendency to repeat in a general area.


This is one of the few mushrooms that I think I can identify.  If you have any friend who is a mushroom expert they can certainly point out the puffballs for you.  In this case I managed to pick one nice one before the animals destroyed the rest.  This is what it looked like in the kitchen.

Puffball with bottom cut off

When you slice them they look as pure and clear as you can imagine.

Puffball slices

For supper that night I sauteed the slices with garlic, olive oil, and white wine.  The slices became the basis of a mushroom sandwich with spinach and sourdough.  Very tasty.

Puffball slices in the pan

A couple more birds have shown up for my morning ritual this week.  The first was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker.

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

This is a woodpecker that I haven’t seen for a couple of years.  I do see it’s handiwork on the trees though.  They frequently drill a substantial number of holes in the pecans and the maples.  Usually in a circular pattern going around the tree.  You would think that someone had been taking maple syrup for years.

Then there was a Northern Flicker that came by just to pose for my camera.

Northern Flicker

The Flickers are really easy to identify with their very strange markings.  This one is a male as indicated by the black bar on the cheek.  Note the pretty yellow tail feathers.  Unlike the other woodpeckers these sit on the branches in normal bird fashion and pose for the photographer…

2 comments on “Rain lilies and Puffballs

  1. Les

    I never knew that puffballs were edible. Do you know if these are the same species that are so much fun to kick and stomp on creating clouds of brown smoke-like spores?

    1. jw

      Yes, kicking a dried puffball will give off a burst of spores (hence the name). I should add a caution that picking and eating is easy once you have seen it done, but I wouldn’t advise trying until you’ve been shown the real thing. Here’s a good link on puffballs.