Lycoris squamigera origins

Jim McKenney
Thu, 06 Aug 2009 06:51:15 PDT
Anita asked “Does anyone know who first discovered Lycoris squamigera and
when and where?

I'd be interested in knowing its background.”


Anita, I don’t think it is possible to answer the question the way you have
asked it. What I mean is that what we know as Lycoris squamigera is probably
an old garden plant. There must have been a first someone who noticed this
good garden plant, but I’ll bet that no information about that survives. 


Its history in the west is roughly this: it was named in 1885 by Karl Johann
Maximowicz (Russian botanist of St. Petersburg, 1827-1891). He was a great
authority on the flora of Asia. 


In the United States it was introduced independently by the physician Dr.
George R. Hall who had been stationed in China and collected plants there
and in Japan. As a result of this introduction, for a long time it was known
in this country as Amaryllis hallii. 


Various explanations have been given for the etymology of the word Lycoris;
the name appears in the poems of Ovid. 


Jim McKenney

Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.03871º North, 77.09829º West, USDA zone

My Virtual Maryland Garden



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