Amaryllis belladonna

Jane McGary
Sat, 09 Sep 2017 11:14:49 PDT
Leo wrote,

"I believe the cool-season rains in California are neither regular 
enough, nor plentiful enough, for Amaryllis belladonna to grow from seed 
without intentional watering by a gardener. I cannot imagine it would 
become established on its own more than extremely rarely, let alone 

One sees a colonies of Amaryllis on roadsides in coastal California, but 
I think they probably got there when soil or garden debris containing 
bulbs was dumped intentionally or deposited by heavy equipment that had 
picked it up from cultivated places. It reminds me of a colony of 
Kniphofia a Forest Service botanist told me about, which she had found 
growing at 4000 feet elevation in Mt. Hood National Forest. We 
speculated that it had reached there in the treads of logging equipment, 
which is also how Scotch broom is spread in these forests. After 
logging, the forest understory is usually severely damaged or even 
eliminated (especially if herbicide is applied to eliminate competition 
for the seedling conifers that will be planted, a common practice on 
private forest), and the same is true of maintained roadsides.  There is 
or used to be a well-known population of Iris douglasiana, a coastal 
species, on a freeway bank east of Portland, quite distant from its 
normal range, that probably came via equipment; it was hybridizing with 
locally native I. tenax, a cross that can create some beautiful 
evergreen but extra-hardy cultivars.

We will soon have an unhappy opportunity to see how heavily used forests 
beside an interstate freeway regrow, thanks to the criminal idiot who 
started the Eagle Creek fire by throwing fireworks off a trail. It has 
burnt about 35,000 acres so far and is not nearly controlled. The air 
here is heavy with smoke and even ash.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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