Amaryllis images

Rodger Whitlock
Tue, 19 Jul 2005 10:07:37 PDT
On 18 Jul 05 at 22:42, Jim McKenney wrote:

> Mary Sue wrote: " I think Hippeastrum was once considered
> Amaryllis so that may be the source of the confusion."
> That's my recollection, too, Mary Sue.
> I know a bit about the history of this particular
> nomenclatural fiasco, but would someone in the group with a
> precise knowledge of what happened please post a refresher? 
> I've heard, for instance, that among other things someone
> purportedly switched or otherwise tampered with one of the
> Linnaean types. 
> Everyone likes a good story; fill us in on the details,
> please.

The key issue was "exactly what plant did Linnaeus give the 
name 'Amaryllis belladonna' to?" The type specimen is extant in 
the Linnean herbarium, but it wasn't clear what it was because 
the characters that distinguish Hippeastrum from Amaryllis were 
not ascertainable -- details of the inner floral parts, I 

My understanding is that the Linnean Society finally took the 
plunge and allowed the specimen to be dissected. It turned out 
to be (surprise!) what we've been calling Amaryllis belladonna 
all along. <whew> <wipes worried sweat off brow>

It had long since become clear that what is now called
Hippeastrum was not the same genus as that represented by the
taxon we call "Amaryllis belladonna", but there had been
speculation that Linnaeus may have given the name Amaryllis
belladonna to a hippeastrum. If this were true, then
Hippeastrum would properly be Amaryllis, and what we call
Amaryllis would be without a proper name.

The dissection answered this question and thus stabilized the

The reference to Meerow et al given by Myke Ashley-Cooper in 
his reply represents a consequence of the dissection and the 
confirmation that Amaryllis belladonna is, indeed, Amaryllis 

This is all from memory. Confirmations, refutations,
corrections, amendments, Bronx cheers, hisses, abusive
name-calling, catcalls from the peanut gallery, and wild, 
unrestrained applause are all equally welcome. 

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

"Without coffee, one has no personality."

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