Gardeners Dictionary
Philip Miller (1752)

AMARYLLIS, Lily-daffodil.
Dr. Linnaeus has changed the Name of this Genus from Lilio-narcissus, which is a compound Name, to Amaryllis; which was applied by Pliny to one Species of this Genus.

The Characters are;
The Spatha or Cover, which incloses the Umbel, is of one Leaf: the Flower consists of six Petals or Leaves, and is of the Lily-shape, having six Stamina surrounding the Pointal: the stigma is trifid.

1. AMARYLLIS spatha uniflora, corolla aequali, staminibus declinatus. Lin. Lily-daffodil with a single Flower in each Cover, which is equal; and declined Stamina, commonly called, Autumnal Narcissus.

2. AMARYLLIS spatha uniflora, corolla aequali, pistillo refracto. Lin. Lily-daffodil with a single Flower in each Sheath, which has equal Petals, and the Pointal broken off, commonly called Atamasco-lily.

3. AMARYLLIS spatha uniflora, corolla inaequali, genitalibus declinatis, Lin. 135. Lily-daffodil with one Flower in each Cover, which has unequal Petals, and the Stamina are declined, commonly called Jacobaea-lily.

4. AMARYLLIS spatha multiflora, corollis aequalibus patentissimis revolutis, genitalibus longissimis. Lin. Lily-daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover; the Petals equal, spread open, and turned backward, and very long Stamina, commonly call'd Guernsey Lily.

5. AMARYLLIS spatha multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, genitalibus declinatis. Lin. Lily-daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover, the Petals equal and bell-shaped, and the Stamina declined; commonly called Belladonna Lily.

6. AMARYLLIS spatha multiflora, foliis ovato-oblongis obtusis. Flor. Leyd. Lily-daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover, and oblong blunt Leaves, commonly called Mexican Lily.

7. AMARYLLIS spatha multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, scapo compresso longitudini umbellae. Flor. Leyd. Lily-daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover; the Petals equal, and the Cover compressed the Length of the Umbel.

8. AMARYLLIS spatha; multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, scapo tereti ancipiti. Flor. Leyd. Lily-daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover; the Petals equal, and the Cover taper and double-headed; commonly called Zeylon Lily.

9. AMARYLLIS spatha multiflora, foliis ciliatis. Flor. Leyd. Lily-daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover, and the edges of the Leaves hairy; commonly called the African scarlet Lily.

10. AMARYLLIS spatha uniflora, corollis aequali, stamnibus erectis. Lily-daffodil with one Flower in a Cover, with equal Petals, and erect Stamina; commonly called Spring yellow Lily-narcissus.

The third Sort, which is commonly called Jacobaea-lily, is now become pretty common in the curious Gardens in England, the Roots sending forth plenty of Off-sets, especially when they are kept in a moderate Warmth in Winter: for the Roots of this Kind will live in a good Green-house, or may be preserved through the Winter under a common Hot-bed-frame; but they they will not flower so often, nor send out so many Off-sets, as when they are placed in a moderate Stove in Winter. This Sort will produce its Flowers two or three times in a Year, and is not regular to any Season; but from March to the Beginning of September the Flowers will be produced when the Roots are in Vigour. The Stems of these Flowers are produced from the Sides of the Bulbs, so that after the Flowers produced on one Side are decayed, there is another Stalk arises from the other Side of the Bulb; but there are rarely more than two Flowers produced on the same Stalk. These Flowers are large, and of a very deep Red; the Under-petals (of Flower-leaves) are very large and the whole Flower stands nodding on one Side of the Stalk, making a beautiful Appearance. This should be called the Mexican Lily, rather than the other, so named by the Gardeners; this being a Native of Mexico, whereas the other is common to all the Islands in the West Indies.

It is propagated by Off-sets, which may be taken off every Year: the best time to shift and part these Roots is in August, that they may take good Root before Winter: in doing of this, there should be care taken not to break off the Fibres from their Roots. They should be planted in Pots of a middling Size, filled with light Kitchen-garden Earth; and if they are kept in a moderate Degree of Warmth, they will produce their Flowers in plenty, and the Roots will make great Increase.

The sixth sort, which is commonly called the Mexican Lily, is not quite so hardy as the former Sort, so must be planted in a warm Stove; and if the Pots are plunged into an Hot-bed of Tanners Bark, the Roots will thrive better, and the Flowers will be strong. This Sort is increased by Off-sets, as the others of this Tribe; and it flowers usually the Beginning of Spring, when it makes a fine Appearance in the Stove: it is known in the West Indies by the name of Red-lily.

The fifth Sort, which is called the Belladonna-lily, was brought to England from Portugal, where the Gardens abound with these Flowers; for the Roots increase very fast, especially in such Countries where they live in the open Air. The Gardens in Italy have also great Quantities of these Flowers, especially about Florence; where, at the Season of their flowering, they are commonly sold in the Markets to adorn their Rooms: the Italians call it Narcissus Belladonna. This Plant thrives so well in Italy, as to need no other Culture than the common Lily; and although it does not flower until August, yet it commonly produces good Seeds in that Country, from which they propagate them in great plenty; but with us they require to be planted in Posts fill'd with light fresh Earth, and in Winter they must be shelter'd, to prevent their Leaves from being destroy'd by the Frost, which, if it does not quite kill their Roots, will so weaken them, as that they will not recover Strength to flower in several Years after, though you should attend them with ever so much Care. This Plant produces its Flowers in September, and the green Leaves come up soon after, and abide all the Winter and Spring until May, at which time they decay, soon after which the Roots should be transplanted; for it they are let stand till July, they will have set forth new Fibres, when it will greatly injure the Roots, if they are disturb'd. If some of these Roots are planted in a warm Border, close to a South Wall, and on a dry Soil, they will thrive very well, especially if they are covered in severe Frost; and these Roots will flower much stronger than those which are kept in Pots, and will multiply faster.


Linnaeus's phrase-name for the Scarlet Belladonna is here associated with the Cape Belladonnas (Portuguese & Italian). Sloane is not mentioned, but by 1755, at the latest, Miller would write that Sloane had collected Cape Belladonnas in Barbados.

It is interesting to note that the Mexican Lily "is common to all the Islands in the West-Indies", and was not considered a new species as Sealy (1939) claimed. In 1741 Miller still called the West Indies Red Lily by Sloane's name, Lilio-Narcissus; polyanthos, flore incarnato, fundo ex luteo albescente. In the present edition he gave it the Flor. Leyd. phrase-name for the plant Linnaeus later named Amaryllis orientalis, and which Heister called Brunsvigia gigantea. Miller's use of phrase-names was inconsistent and sometimes inaccurate, but useful as an indication of some contemporary confusion.

In 1753, Heister published his monograph on the genus Brunsvigia. In that work he made the remarkable statement that Merian had depicted Ferrari's plant. However, the plant in question was his Brunsvigia gigantea (=orientalis L), and the painter was not Maria Sibylla, but her father Matthäus (Mathia). Whether Miller had some advance notice of Heister's 1753 publication remains to be determined.