Amaryllis belladonna and its wild varieties

jim lykos
Thu, 01 Oct 2009 20:13:15 PDT
Hi Mary Sue and Nhu,

One factor that I dont think has been considered in discussion about what 
initiates flowering in Amaryllis belladonna, is the large variation in 
flowering percentages from distinct wild cultivars of  Amaryllis as against 
good flowering percentages from Amaryllis cultivars that have been crossed 
with other Amaryllis forms/varieties.
By wild varieites I mean the Amaryllis varieties that were oginially 
collected and exported from South Africa during the 1820's to 1880's mainly 
form the SW Cape.

Most of my Amaryllis cultivars have about an 80% flowering  rate - where 
every mature sized bulb  flowers each year, with exceptions for bulbs that 
had a heavy seed load through controlled crosses the previous flowering 
season. Conversely there are a few cultivars of what I regard are the pure 
belladonna  varietial forms  of  Amaryllis where regardless of how they are 
cultured flowering is only initiated  10% to 30% of the time.

The poorest flowering variety has very light pink  trumpet shaped flowers 
and - has between 5 to 9 flowers that all face  the direction of the midday 
sun.  It is a very poor seed setter, and the seeds are always relatively 
small and round.  These are found through the farmlands of  south east of 
Australia particularly in 19th Century  cemeteries where they have often 
naturalized. I understand that there are a few distinct colour forms in 
South Africa that are regionally  based, and are uniformly coloured darker 
pinks and are more robust in flower. There is a more even pink and a 
purplish pink Amaryllis belladonna also found in country side  regions in SE 
Australia that have the look of being different wild forms of the species.

Has anyone seen these flowering in South Africa as uniform flower colours, 
or grows them - what difference do they display?


Jim Lykos
Blue Mountains Australia

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Nhu Nguyen" <>
To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <>
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2009 1:32 AM
Subject: Re: [pbs] Amaryllis belladonna and fire

> Wow Mary Sue,
> I think it's an interesting comparison from your garden and a localized
> climate where you live. We have discussed many themes which these bulbs
> could bloom and fire could be one of the triggers as you have shown. I 
> also
> really like the photos. I must confess I am intrigued by bulb 
> inflorescences
> (or other leafless plants) that come out of barren ground. It's so alien.
> Nhu
> Berkeley CA
> Blooms have slowed down a bit but Nerine hybrids are still going plus a 
> few
> Oxalis.
> On Wed, Sep 30, 2009 at 7:57 PM, Mary Sue Ittner <> wrote:
>> Hi,
>>   But it is all over the place
>> with more coming up all the time. I took a few pictures for the wiki
>> today, but I couldn't get very close and my zoom lens distorts distances.
>> <…>
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