John Lindley - 1821
Amaryllis Solandraeflora undoubtedly belongs to that set of plants which has been indicated by Mr. Herbert, in some remarks on the genera of Amaryllideae lately published in the Botanical Magazine, as constituting what he considers Amaryllis proper, all of which are confined to the western hemisphere, and which he thinks form a genus altogether different from the Cape plants previously included under the same denomination. In our next article we shall take occasion to examine the principles upon which the alterations proposed by the ingenious author have been founded, and endeavor to ascertain in what cases it may be advisable to adopt them.
Now there is a rule for forming genera which has been admirably prescribed by Linnaeus, that "Genus dabit characterem, et non character genus;" a rule which is perpetually quoted, but too often neglected; on which nevertheless all the principles of generic discrimination absolutely depend. In fact, it is the only test by which the value of the characters can be ascertained with precision. On this principle, if it can be shown that the plants combined into genera by the differences indicated above are not alike in habit, but, on the contrary, extremely dissimilar; and that others with a very similar habit are disunited, it will follow that the distinction upon which they have been divided or combined must be considered modi and not formae, if we may use that expression; and consequently of importance for distinguishing species, but not genera. How far this may really be the case, we will now proceed to inquire.
We do not wish it to be understood, from any thing which may have been said, that we are averse to the division of Amaryllis into several genera. On the contrary, it is, probably, necessary that some further alteration should be made to it; but on very different principles from those just examined. Of these we may perhaps have an opportunity of speaking at some future time. Our limits will not allow us to enlarge upon the subject at present, further than to add that the fleshy-seeded Amaryllides referred to Crinum by Mr. H., have not been removed from the former genus with more reason than the other plants of which we have been speaking; Crinum being more nearly related to Pancratium than to Amaryllis.
"It is to me inconceivable that a genus proposed by one author should be interpreted by others with every original species excluded." E. D. Merrill: An Interpretation of Rumphius's Herbarium Amboinense (1917).William Herbert attempted to undermine Heister's Brunsvigia (1753) by combining Heister's type species with the Cape Belladonna in a new genus, Coburgia. After his attempt was dismissed by other botanists, he tried again by reviving an old confusion regarding Amaryllis Belladonna L., which allowed him to unite the Cape Belladonna with Brunsvigia orientalis (L.) Heist. and others in the genus Amaryllis. If he had been successful, both Amaryllis and Brunsvigia would have been deprived of any species described by the authors in their original publications.
Subsequently, Herbert's effort was partially ignored orientalis remains in Brunsvigia and we are left with the Cape Belladonna as the only "true" Amaryllis even though that species was not described in Hortus Cliffortianus (1728), as Herbert admitted, nor in Species Plantarum (1753). It is not clear whether Linnaeus intended the Cape plant to be included in Amaryllis reginae, which combines a description of one plant with plates of two others. Miller excluded Hermann's plant from his interpretation of A. regina, which is the Cape Belladonna. However, it is quite clear that L'Héritier, who did not cite Linnaeus as authority for the species, included the Cape Belladonna in his Amaryllis Belladonna (non L.).
Sealy etal. have tried to confuse A. Belladonna L. with A. Belladonna (L'Herit. non L.), with unfortunate consequences.