Hymenocallis amancaes

Judy Glattstein jgglatt@gmail.com
Mon, 05 Jul 2010 07:37:33 PDT
 From my research notes for "Bulbs for Garden Habitats"


In 1835, on July 19th Charles Darwin made note in his journal, of fields 
of amancaes flowering on the desert coastal hills of Peru: “On the hills 
near Lima, at a height but little greater, the ground is carpeted with 
moss, and beds of beautiful yellow lilies, called Amancaes. This 
indicates a very much greater degree of humidity, than at a 
corresponding height at Iquique.” Official emblem of the city of Lima, 
amancaes used to be found growing wild on the banks of the Rimac River 
that flows through the city. Though there is a district of Lima still 
known as Pampas of Amancaes, the places where this flower was once so 
numerous are now nothing but buildings and city streets. Club Floralíes 
de Lima is an organization dedicated to bringing it back. They have 
created a preserve called Pachacámac, on land outside of Lima 
owned/donated by the Lima Cement Company where this and other native 
plants are being reintroduced.


My brother, an tenured professor of anthropology who did his doctoral 
research in a village above Cuzco (and who speaks both Quechua and 
Amara) told me of a song, a vals criollo that mentions H. amancaes. The 
lyrics, approximately, go like this:

Elegantly dressed in traditional style, wearing a poncho of white linen,
Jose Antonio is an accomplished horseman, showing fine mastery riding 
his horse.
Why, asks the woman, why did he leave her, hoping that when he returns
to see the amancay in bloom he will sweep her up on his horse.


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