Jim Lykos jimlykos@optusnet.com.au
Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:45:50 PST
Hi Jim,

Most of the wiki images are likely to be technically  xAmarygia (Amaryllis x Brunsvigia) hybrids but they have been undoubtedly backcrossed many times  with siblings leading to offspring which may not be very different form some Amaryllis selections. Some of them would also have arisen from crosses of XAmarygia  with Amaryllis belladonna selections and hence exhibit and retain varying levels of latent Brunsvigia characteristics.  Les Hannibal came very close to sorting out the origins and status of these hybrids in his investigations and writings and he also use to cross the xAmarygia's with his better coloured belladonna selections.

Some xAmarygia I have seen appear to have very few genes retained from the original Brunsvigia parent except for what appears to be an improved metabolic system - as they retain hybrid vigour  without many  visible signs of being an intergeneric hybrid.
I have however located a few hybrid swarms from original F1 hybrids and these do show many more Brunsvigia characteristics and are nearly infertile - but surprisingly  with persistence some offspring can be grown which are exceptionally fertile - and this is a characteristic that is usually found in most xAmarygia's like those shown in the wiki- it may be that the fertility boost results from the shedding of some Brunsvigia genes.
Arthington Worsley wrote an article for the RHS London around 1930 in which he identified the 27 plant and flower characteristics that differed betwen Amaryllis and Brunsvigia's and the extent to which they were expressed in the hybrids.  He had created the crosses both ways and evaluted the results over three decades.  

The xAmarygia (Brunsvigia x Amaryllis) is an entirely different hybrid to the reverse cross - much slower to grow to flowering and requiring a very dry and hot summer climate to flower them reliably.  It also has  a very different flower resembling a much larger Brunsvigia bloom - with solid vibrant lilacs and red coloured flowers - of a cast and hue which we dont see in the Amaryllis x Brunsvigia hybrids. 
We were fortunate in Australia in having a number of wealthy gentleman botanists/gardeners who in the more favourable economic times in our  colonial period in Sydney (1830's to 1860's) imported extensive collections of Cape Bulbs and grew them in their private botanical  gardens and eventually learnt to hybridised them - creating the first  hybrids between Amaryllis and Brunsvigia josephinea, grandiflora and  littoralis.  
John Carne Bidwill was the first to both hybridise and flower xAmarygia (Amaryllis x Brunsvigia) in 1847,  making  similar hybrids in three different gardens in the Sydney region. A number of nurserymen later followed his example and created further crosses as well as backcrossing the progeny. These were sold by mail order in the nursery trade all over Australia for a few decades as Brunsvigia multiflora or Brunsvigia hybrids or Amaryllis hybrids.  Hence many of the original F2, F3 and older forms of these hybrids were widely distributed and  turn up as we search for them in the countryside in old town gardens.
I have recently learnt that John Carne Bidwill's  botanical library was held by the Macarthur family, and recently gifted to our National Library. Where it was found that Bidwills copy of Herberts 'Amaryllidaceae'  had been rebound and an additional section added - Bidwill's own extensive notes on the Amaryllidaceae hybridising  experiments he made during the 1840's. I am hoping to shortly get a transcription.

Incidentially, the frist xAmarygia hybrid was sold in the 1857 Catalogue of Plants at Camden Park Nursery, and was called
"Amaryllis Ameliae (hybrid)" - hence this name preceeds that of Amaryllis (xAmarygia) Parkerii for this intergeneric hybrid. 
Bulbs  of B. josephinea x Amaryllis blanda were also in the catalogue - with the first recorded flowering of these in 1861.

Jim Lykos
Blue Mountains 


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