A. belladonna "Hathor"

Jim Lykos jimlykos@optusnet.com.au
Wed, 17 Aug 2005 17:08:46 PDT
Hi Bill,

Thanks for your interesting comments  about Brunsvigia and Amaryllis hybrids. I don't think that Brunsvigia josephinea and Amaryllis necessarily favour dry late spring and summers - but they seem to flower best in these climates in South Australia and Western Australia.
Here in the Sydney region where I live we have dry winters and wet summers. Amaryllis hybrids and Brunsvigia josephinea flower very reliabily  in late summer, but the Brunsvigia x Amaryllis hybrids are rather tardy in flowering even though they grow prolifically.  I now have 15 of Brunsvigia cultivars collected from all the southern states of Australia, but none have yet flowered even though they are growing well and bulb dividing.
One thing I didnt mention is that we now know that George Davis who lives in the middle of the island of Tasmania has a variety of Brunsvigia jospehinea that is very floriferious - with up to 120 flowers. He has told Rob Hamilton that it is the main form of Brunsvigia found in collections in the north of that state. Rob will be taking pictures of this variety next season.
If this is verified it may well confirm the real identity of Brunsvigia multiflora used by Bidwill in his intergeneric hybrids - ie a larger and more floriferous form of B. josephinea. 

Surprisingly it is only in Tasmania that some Brunsvigia species have survivied and prospered since collonial times. This is our coldest and wetest state with even year around rainfall - and its latitude is closer to that of the Cape.  
The only mature Brunsvigia josephinea bulb I have also came from Tasmania - it bears around 40 to 60 flowers every second season - as I have fertilised all the flowers and collected the seed.
This year  all (99%) of the seed I harvested germinated and are growing strongly. It may be a climatic factor, but it certainly is a different experience than when they first flowered two years ago when only around 5 out of 200 odd hybrid seeds greminated and grew on.
This year they all germinated and selfings are distinct by their glacuous leaves whereas the hybrids are geen leafed. The only difference is that I treated the flowers the day after pollinating with a liquid solution of GA3. 

My only explaination for the apparent lack of expression of Brunsvigia genes in the Amaryllis hybird seed parents is that most of the Brunsvigia genes are lost through cross linkages in the cross involving Amaryllis x Brunsvigia. However, some of these hybrids have shown greater potential and this is possibly due to the fact  that the colonial period (1820's -1860's), a couple of members of our landed gentry paid collectors to transport many box loads of  bulbs from the Cape region and these were planted out in their large Sydney gardens - a resource which Bidwill used for his hybridisation experiments. I think that he also used at least one different Amaryllis cultivar than the typical species belladonna (possibly a natural Amaryllis hybrid) in these experiments. 
I have to go to landscaping classes - I have some questions to ask you about your Amaryllis culture later today.


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