Mrs. Bury
Amaryllis Reginae

The plant here represented has been above thirty years in the Fairfield hothouse and flowers very freely every spring—the following correct description is taken from Professor Martyn's edition of Miller's Dictionary, published in 1768—"Bulb green, scape round, sub-compressed. Each stem supports two, three, or four flowers, rarely more; they are large, of a bright copper-colour inclining to scarlet, with a bottom of a whitish green; the three outer petals reversed at the tip, the three inner fringed at the base; the style red: the spathe which covers the buds before they open, divides into two parts to the bottom, standing on each side the umbel of flowers. It flowered in Mr. Fairchild's garden at Hoxton, in 1728, when the late Dr. James Douglass (a celebrated Anatomist,) caused a figure of it to be drawn, and wrote a folio pamphlet on it. He gave it the title of Lilium Reginae, because it was in full beauty on the 1st of March, which was the birth-day of the late Queen," (Caroline of Anspach, wife of George II.) The roots were brought from Mexico, and it is therefore called the Mexican Lily, among Gardeners. It increases readily by offsets, or from seed, by which so many varieties have been raised, that the original species is become rare.


The text in blue is actually paraphrased from the description of Amaryllis Belladonna in the 1768 edition of Miller's Gardeners Dictionary. The red text — not found in the Dictionary — is an approximate translation of Linnaeus's "Petala 3 exteriora intus apice ungue reverso. Petala 3 interiora basi ciliata. Stamina declinata, rubra" taken from his description of Amaryllis Belladonna in Mantissa Plantarum (1767 & 1771).

Obviously Mrs. Bury did not think "intus apice ungue reverso" referred to the Cape Belladonna, as did Sealy (1939). Strictly speaking, though, Linnaeus's description means that the outer petals are recurved from inside, base to tip.

The Mantissa Plantarum was not mentioned by L'Heritier, Aiton, Herbert, Uphof, Sealy, Traub or any other of the writers who were concerned with the identity of Amaryllis Belladonna. I thought it was my own discovery, but now I see that Bury knew about it.

Further note: Boris (?) found an Amaryllis in the mountains of southwest Mexico that seems to be a good match for this species.