Naked Ladies (Surprise Lily, Lycoris squamigera)

My driving companion in Cincinatti was quite discomfitted when I suddenly shouted “There are naked ladies by the sidewalk! Pull over so I can take a picture!”

Dutifully, she turned around and returned to the place we’d just passed. Peeking between her fingers she whispered, “Do you really think we should be taking pictures of someone who is drunk or deranged?”

“They LIKE having their picture taken,” I replied before hopping out. “They’re showing their pink faces to everyone who walks past!”

Naked ladies, of course, are not human. They’re flowers.

Sometimes called hurricane lilies or surprise lilies, Lycoris squamigera belongs to the same family as the red spider lilies that also appear in early fall.

On both plants the leaves are present in spring through early summer. Foliage fades by June. What a surprise when the flowers emerge two months later. Surprise!!

Have you figured out why they’re called naked ladies? It’s because they are so beautiful… but they emerge unclothed by foliage.

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