Garden and Forest 3: 176 (April 9, 1890)

Lycoris squamigera*

The plant which has been known to cultivators for several years, under the name of Amaryllis Hallii, of which a figure is now given on page 177, was brought originally from China by Dr. George R. Hall, of Bristol, Rhode Island, and has been distributed by the Messrs. Hovey, the Boston seedsmen. It appears to be the same as a rather rare Japanese species of Lycoris which was collected by the distinguished botanist, Maximowicx, of St. Petersburg, on the beach near Oyo, in the island of Kiusiu, and was first described by him. It was previously known to Siebold, however, as is shown by his herbarium, and a good figure of it is found under the name of Natsu-dzuisen in the illustrated Japanese work, "So-Mokou-Zoussetz" (vol. v., t. 59), by the native botanist Yokoussai. Dr. Hall had it in cultivation in his garden at Shanghai before 1860, and he states that it is often planted by the Chinese in their cemeteries. It may therefore be the same plant that is referred to by Mr. Baker as found in grave-yards at Ningpo and which he thinks will probably prove distinct. The present plant, however, accords very well with the descriptions of L. squamigera.

In appearance it strongly resembles the true Amaryllis (A. Belladonna). The bulb is large and globose, sending tip in spring half a dozen bright green leaves, a foot and a half long by an inch broad. These leaves die down in late summer and are succeeded by the flower-scapes, which are nearly three feet high, stout and solid, bearing all umbel of four to seven fragrant flowers within two large bracts. The flowers, on pedicels nearly an inch long, are three or four inches long above the ovary, somewhat decurved, of a uniform light rose color shaded with a peculiar gray. The curving segments are much narrowed downward and unite to form a rather narrow tube nearly an inch long, in the throat of which, above the insertion of the stamens, is a row of short truncate scales. These scales are peculiar to this species and give to it its name. The very slender filaments and style are declined to one side and about as long as the petals.

The plant is of easy cultivation and proves to be perfectly hardy in our New England climate, in this respect differing from all others of its near allies so far as known, though there would seem to be no reason why the other three or four species of the genus, which are also natives of Japan and China, should not be equally hardy.

The genus Lycoris is closely related to Amaryllis, Hippeastrum and Crinum, all of which have flowers very much alike in general appearance. Hippeastrum, several species of which are cultivated tinder the name of Amaryllis, differs from Lycoris in its hollow stems and in its flattened instead of swollen black seeds. Its species all belong to the warmer parts of the American continent. The true Amaryllis belongs to South Africa, and, like Crinum, has large, round, green and fleshy seeds, and the fruit never opens by valves as in Lycoris and Hippeastrum. S. W.

*Lycoris squamigera, Maximowicz in Engler's Bot. Jahrbücher, vi. 79 (1885); Baker, Amaryllidaceæ, 40.

Also, Hippeastrum squamigerum, Léveillé, Liliacées, Amaryllidacées, Iridacées et Hémodoracées de Chine. p. 21. 1905.


Curtis's Botanical Magazine, vol. 123 [ser. 3, vol. 53]: t. 7547 (1897) [M. Smith]