This exciting new Zephyranthes species, grows from a comparatively small, blackish-brown bulb, around 2cm both in diameter and in height also. These have a short neck on top. The bulbs produce up to five, narrow, linear leaves which can reach 30cm long in larger bulbs, but these leaves seldom exceed 4mm wide.
Flowering in this species is late and it does not start until July though it lasts until October. The flowers are pale- to dark-yellow funnels some 3-3.5cm in diameter with greenish tubes and they are held on 20-25cm stems. The flowers are slightly paler inside and darker outside and the outer petals are flushed, stained and streaked with deep, rusty-red on the exterior. This colouring becomes solid at the red apices of these petals. When discovered, this was the only truly yellow and red coloured Mexican Zephyranthes species and the combination of colours is the inspiration for the Greek-derived name which means “two coloured flower”.
This stock is raised from just one source which reached us by two routes. One was seed that we were sent by Dr. Thad Howard in 2000 but it is largely raised from a misidentified stock from Yucca-Do nursery in Texas (grown there as Z. nymphaea until 2007) and they in turn had their bulbs from Thad himself. It was Dr. Howard who described this in 1996 (Herbertia 51: 38–40. 1996) and he was also the discover of the species in eastern Mexico. He found on June 22nd 1991 (Howard 91-01) about 11 miles (17.7 km) south of El Naranjo growing in a low altitude, tropical valley which it shared (albeit 10 miles away) with Z. subflava and Z. nymphaea. Zephyranthes dichromantha grew there at the side of an unmarked, paved road next to sugar cane fields. The area is heavily cultivated and even when he found it over 25 years ago, he speculated that sugar cane cultivation is what had already made this locally endemic plant into a rare species in the wild.
Fortunately this plant, though rare and limited in nature, grows well in cultivation. It makes sporadic offsets when it is larger and established, but it sets plenty of seed and it has persisted in horticulture from the original introduction.