Botanical Register vol. 1, t. 23 (1815)


Vermilion-flowered Amaryllis

An unrecorded species, and not known in our collections, until very lately imported fry Mr. Griffin, from whose botanical pursuits we have already derived the introduction of other new and curious plants. It was received by the way of Portugal, from St. Paul's in the Brazils.

Every one will perceive the close resemblance of our plant to AMARYLLIS equestris (miniata of the Flora peruviana); but on inspecting the interior of the tube of the corolla, the whole of this in rutila will be found to be completely smooth, while its mouth in equestris is always pubescent; the segments are also narrower and longer in the present species, the stigmas far more deeply separated, and the spathe dries quickly away, and does not remain upright and long unaltered as in the other. More distinctions will probably be detected on a comparison of the living specimens of the two. They are natives of opposite sides of the South American continent; equestris (miniata) being found in Peru, in woods and field-sides on the Andees; and is called by the Spanish colonists lacre de montaña, or mountain-sealing-wax, in allusion to the colour of the flower. And it is said that where the bulb is cut, the part on exposure to the air becomes vermilion; and that the juice is used as an ink for the signature of the name to letters, having been found to acquire the same fine colour when dry. These circumstances most probably belong also to rutila; the flower of which is scentless; the vermilion on the inside sparkling and streaked with deeper coloured feathered lines; on the outside opaque suffused with pink and tinged partially with green and yellow; the funnel or throat within of a greenish white and six-rayed.

The drawing was made from a bulb that flowered with more of the same species in the dry-stove in Mr. Griflin's garden at South Lambeth, in March last.