The Gardeners Dictionary
Philip Miller - 1759

AMARYLLIS, Lily-Daffodil.

The Characters are;

It hath an oblong compressed Spatha, or Sheath, which encloses the Flower Buds, and open Side Ways, grows dry, and is permanent; the Flower hath six Spear-shaped Petals; in the Center is situated the roundish furrowed Germen, supporting a slender Style, which is crowned with a three cornered Stigma; this is attended by six Awl-shaped Stamina, which are crowned with incumbent Summits. After the Flower is past, the Germen becomes an oval Capsule, opening in three Parts, having three Cells, which contain round Seeds.

This genus is ranged by Dr. Linnaeus in his sixth Class of Plants, Intitled Hexandria Monogynia, from the Flower having six Stamina and one Style. Tournefort places it in the fifth Section of his ninth Class, which contains Plants with a Lily-shaped Flower, composed of six Leaves, whose Empalement becomes a tricapsular Seed Vessel, and he titles this Genus Lilio Narcissus, from the Flower being shaped like a Lily, and the Root like a Narcissus, so he compounded the two Names, but Dr. Linnaeus has altered the Title of this Genus to Amaryllis.

1. AMARYLLIS spathâ uniflorâ, corollâ aequali, staminibus declinatis. Lin. Lily Daffodil with a single Flower in each Cover, which is equal, and declined Stamina. This is the Lilio Narcissus luteus autumnalis major. Tourn. Inst. 386. and the Narcissus autumnalis major, Clus. Hist. commonly called Autumnal Narcissus.

2. AMARYLLIS spathâ uniflorâ, corollâ aequali, pistillo declinato. Hort. Cliff. 135. Lily Daffodil with a single Flower in each Sheath, which has equal Petals, and the Pointal declining. This is the Lilio Narcissus Indicus pumilus monanthos albus, Mor. Hist. 2, 266. commonly called Atamusco Lily.

3. AMARYLLIS spathâ uniflorâ, corollâ inaequali, genitalibus declinatis, Hort. Cliff. 135. Lily Daffodil with one Flower in each Cover, which has unequal Petals, and the Stamina and Style are declined. This is the Lilio Narcissus Jacobaeus flore sanguineo nutante. Hort. Elth. 195. commonly called Jacobaea Lily.

4. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ, corollis revolutis genitalibus strictis. Hort. Upsal. 75. Lily Daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover; the Petals equal, spread open, and turned backward, with broken Stamina, commonly called Guernsey Lily.

5. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, genitalibus declinatis. Hort. Cliff. 135. Lily Daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover, the Petals equal and Bell-shaped, and the Stamina declined. This is the Lilio Narcissus polyanthos flore incarnato, fundo ex luteo albescente. Sloane. Cat. Jam. 115. commonly called Belladonna Lily.

6. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ corollis campanulatis marginibus reflexis genitalibus declinatis. Lily Daffodil with many flowers in one Cover, the Petals equal and Bell-shaped, their Borders turning backward, and declining Stamina. This is the Lilium Americanum puniceo flore, Belladonna dictum. Par. Bat. 194. commonly called Mexican Lily.
[Note: "aequalibus" is omitted from the Latin description, but "the Petals equal" is retained in the English translation. The "marginibus reflexis" refers to the recurved tepals of the West Indies plant, here called "Mexican". In other editions the plant described by Hermann and Douglass is said to have "marginibus undulatis".] [Note: In the description of the Jacobaea Lily, this plant is said to be "...common to all the Islands in the West-Indies."]

7. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, scapo compresso longitudini umbellae. Flor. Leyd. 36. Lily Daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover; the Petals equal, and the Cover compressed the Length of the Umbel. This is the Lilium Africanum humile longissimis foliis polyanthos saturato colore purpurascens. Par. Bat. 195.

8. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, scapo tereti ancipiti. Flor. Leyd. 36. Lily Daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover; the Petals equal, and the Cover opening two Ways. This is the Lilio Narcissus Zeylanicus latifolius flore niveo externè lineâ purpureâ striato. Hort. Amst. I. 73. commonly called Zeylon Lily.

9. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ, foliis ciliatis. Flor. Leyd. 37. Lily Daffodil with many Flowers in one Cover, and the Edges of the Leaves hairy. This is the Lilio Narcissus sphaericus Æthiopicus foliis guttatis & cilii instar pilosis. Pluk. Alm. 220. commonly called the African Scarlet Lily.

10. AMARYLLIS spathâ uniflorâ, corollâ aequali, staminibus erectis. Lily Daffodil with one Flower in a Cover, with equal Petals, and erect Stamina. This is the Lilio Narcissus luteus vernus. Tourn. Inst. 386. commonly called Spring yellow Lily Narcissus.

11. AMARYLLIS spathâ multiflorâ corollis inaequalibus foliis linguiformibus. Buttn. Lily Daffodil with many Flowers in a Cover, whose Petals are unequal, and Leaves shaped like a Tongue. This is the Lilio Narcissus Indicus maximus sphaericus floribus plurimis rubris liliaceis. Mor. Hist. 2. 268. and the Brunswigia of Dr. Heister.

12. AMARYLLIS spathâ triflorâ corollis campanulatis aequalibus genitalibus declinatus. Lily Daffodil with three Flowers in each Cover, whose Petals are equal and Bell-shaped, with declining Stamina.


1The first Sort is a very hardy Plant, which increases very fast by Offsets. The Season for transplanting these Roots is any time from May to the End of July, when their Leaves are decayed, after which it will be too late to remove them; for they will begin to push out new Fibres by the Middle of August, if the Season by moist, and many times they flower the Begining of September; so that if they are then transplanted, it will Spoil their flowering. This Plant will grow in any Soil or Situation; but it will thrive best in a fresh light dry Soil, and in an open Situation; i.e. not under the Driping of Trees, nor too near to Walls. It is commonly called by the Gardeners, the yellow Autumnal Narcissus, &c. and is usually sold by them with Colchicums, for Autumnal Ornaments to Gardens; for which Purpose this is a pretty Plant, as it will frequently keep flowering from the Middle of September to the Middle of November, provided the Frost is not so severe as to destroy the Flowers; for slthough there is but one Flower in each Cover, yet there is a Succession of Flowers from the same Root, especially when they are suffered to remain three or four Years unremoved. The Flowers seldom rise above three or four Inches high; it is shaped somewhat like the Flowers of the large yellow Crocus; these have their green Leaves come up at the same Time, like the Saffron, and after the Flowers are past, the Leaves increase all the Winter. The Roots are bulbous, and shaped like those of the Narcissus, so are proper Ornaments for such Borders as are planted with Cyclamens, Saffron, Autumnal Crocus, Colchicums, and such low Autumnal Flowers.

10The tenth Sort is more rare in England than any of the other, at present. It was formerly in several curious Gardens, but as it flowers at a Season when there are so many finer Sorts in Beauty; so it was neglected and cast out of the Gardens, whereby it is almost lost in England: It grows naturally in Spain and Portugal, where it flowers early in January. This is as hardy as the first Sort, and may be planted in the open Borders, and treated in the same manner as the first, excepting that this will not lose its Leaves so soon, so should not be taken out of the Ground to transplant, till the End of July, or Begining of August. It flowers in April or the Begining of May, but is not of long Duration.

2The second Sort is a Native of Virginia and Carolina, in which Countries it grows very plentifully in the Fields and Woods, where it makes a beautiful Appearance when it is in Flower, which is in the Spring. The Flowers of this Sort are produced single, and at their first Appearance have a fine Carnation Colour on their Outside; but this fades away to a pale, or almost white, before the Flowers decay. This Plant is so hardy, as to thrive in the open Air in England, provided the Toots are planted in a warm Situation, and on a dry Soil; it may be propagated by Offsets from the Roots, which they put out pretty plentifully, especially if they are not transplanted oftener than once in three Years. The Flowers of this Sort are almost as large as those of the small Orange Lily, but do not grow above six or eight Inches high; they appear the latter End of May, of begining of June, and sometimes it flower in August in this Country.

3The 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 Offsets, 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 thro' the Winter under a common hot Bed Frame; but they they will not flower so often, nor send out so many Offsets, 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 Begining 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 Bulbs; but there is rarely more than one Flower produced on the same Stalk. These Flowers are large, and of a very deep Red; the under Petals, or Flower Leaves, are very large, and the whole Flower stands noding on the Side of the Stalk, making a beautiful Appearance. This should be called the Mexican Lily, rather than the other [#6], so named by the Gardeners; this being a Native of Mexico, whereas the other is common to all the Islands in the West-Indies.

6The sixth Sort, which is commonly called the "Mexican Lily", is not quite so hardy as the former Sort [Jacobaea], so must be placed in a warm Stove; and if the Pots are plunged in a hot Bed of Tanners Bark, the Roots will thrive better, and the Flowers will be strong. This Sort is increased by Offsets, as the others of this Tribe; and it flowers usually the Begining of Spring, when it makes a fine Appearance in the Stove; the Flower Stems of this Sort, seldom rise more than one Foot high, each Stem supports two, three, or four Flowers, rarely more than that Number. The Flowers are large, and of a bright Copper Colour, inclining to red, the Spathâ, or Sheath, which covers the Buds before they open, divides into two Parts to the Bottom, standing on each Side the Umbel of Flowers, joined to the small Foot Stalks. This doth not produce Seeds in England.

8The eighth Sort is also tender, and must be treated in the same manner as the sixth; this is more common in the Gardens in Holland than in this Country; and as it is a Plant which increases but slowly, will not be very common here. This flowers usually in June and July; and sometimes the same Root will flower again in Autumn; for if the Pots are plunged in a Bed of Tanners Bark, the Roots generally flower twice every Year, but the Flowers are not of long Duration. This Sort grows naturally in the West-Indies, from whence I have received Roots and Seeds.

7&9The seventh and ninth sorts are more hardy, and may be treated in the same manner as the Jacobæa Lily; these will increase pretty fast by Offsets, when they are properly managed, especially the ninth, which sends out many Offsets, so as to fill the Pots with Roots, but it seldom flowers in England. The Leaves of this are long and narrow, not much unlike those of the Snowdrop. The Petals of the Flower turn back like those of the Guernsey Lily, but are of a lighter Colour, rather inclining to Scarlet; the Roots of this are small. The seventh Sort usually flowers in Winter, if the Pots are placed in a moderate Stove; and as at that Season there are few Flowers in the open Air, these are more valuable on that Account.

I received Roots of both these Sorts from the Cape of Good Hope, which have succeeded in the Chelsea garden. The seventh sort produces a great Number of Flowers in each Umbel, which are of a deep purple Colour, but the Stalk which supports them, rarely rises more than three Inches high; these Flowers appear in December. The Roots of this Sort are very large, and the Leaves are very long, but narrow.

11The eleventh Sort is figured by Ferrarius in his Garden of Flowers, as also by Morrison in his History of Plants; but Dr. Heister has separated this from the Genus, and has constituted a new Genus by the Title of Brunswigia, in honour to the Duke of Brunswick. But although the Shape of the Flowers in this Plant are different from most of the others of this Genus, yet as there is a Uniformity in the characteristic Notes of the Genus, so it should not be saparated; for the Jacobaea Lily differs in the Form of its Flowers, from the other Species, full as much as this, therefore might for the same reason by separated from this Genus.

This grows naturally at the Cape of Good Hope, from whence I have received the Roots, which have succeeded in the Chelsea Garden. The Bulbs of this Sort are large and almost round, the Leaves are long, broad, and rounded at their Extremities; these spread two Ways on the Surface of the Ground; and do not come up till after the Flower Stem appears, which is generally in November; and after the Flowers are past, the Leaves increase till Spring, and in May they begin to decay, so that from the Middle of June to October, the Roots are entirely naked of Leaves.

12The twelfth Sort is also a Native of Africa, I received the Roots of this from the Cape of Good Hope with the former. This produces its Flowers in February and March. The Stems of this rises near two Feet high, and have commonly but three Flowers inclosed in each Sheath, or Cover. The Flowers are as large as those of the Belladonna Lily, and are of the same Form, growing erect, but of a deeper Red Colour; the Leaves are long and narrow, and have a hollow Furrow on their upper Side, where there is a pale Stripe runing the Length of the Leaves, and are very like those of the American Pancratium. These Leaves decay in Summer, about the same time as those of the former, and appear again in the same Season.

Both these Sorts may be treated in the same manner, as hath been directed for the Jacobaea Lily, with this Difference only, of placing these in Winter in a Stove, where there is a moderate Share of Warmth, for the Roots of these will not endure so much cold as those, nor should they have so much Water given them.

The best Time to transplant these Roots is about the Begining of August, when their Leaves are quite decayed, and before they put out new Fibres, for it will be very improper to remove them afterwards.

All these bulbous-rooted Flowers delight in a loose sandy Earth, mixed with good Kitchen Garden Mould; and in the Culture of them there should be but little Water given them at those Times when their Leaves decay, and the Roots are not in a growing State; for much Moisture at that time will often cause them to rot; but when they are growing, and putting out their Flower Stems, they should be frequently refreshed with Water, but not given in too great Quantities at a time. The Pots, with the tender Sorts, should constantly be kept in the Stove; and in Summer they should have as much free Air as possible; for although some of these Sorts may be kept abroad in Summer, yet those do not thrive so well, nor flower so constantly, as those which are treated in the manner here described.

5The fifth sort, which is called the Belladonna Lily, was brought to England from Portugal, where the Gardens did some Years ago 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 more Care, otherwise they cannot be preserved. The Roots of this Sort were generally planted in Pots, and placed under a hot Bed Frame, to screen them from the Frost in Winter; for as their green Leaves come out in Autumn, and continue growing all the Winter, so when they are exposed to the Frost, whereby their Leaves are killed, the Roots will be in Danger of perishing, but if they should survive, they will be greatly weakened by it. With this Culture the Roots were preserved, but they did not constantly flower, nor increase in Offsets very fast, so that few Gardens were furnished with this Plant; and of late Years the Roots have been very scarce in Portugal, for the Jacobaea Lily having been introduced into that Country, has supplanted the other, in most of their Gardens, so that the Roots which have been brought from thence of late years for the Belladonna Lily, have proved the Jacobaea Lily.

The method in which I have cultivated this Plant for some Years past, with great Success, is as follows. I prepared a Border next a South West aspected Wall, of about six Feet wide, in the following Manner, viz. I removed all the Earth to the Depth of three Feet, then I put some very roten Dung in the Bottom, six Inches thick, upon which I laid light Garden Mould about twenty Inches deep; after making this level, I placed the Roots at six Inches Distance in every way, and then covered them over with light sandy Earth, to the Height of the Border, whereby the upper Part of the Roots were five or six Inches buried, and in the Winter I covered the Border all over with roten Tanners Bark, three Inches deep, to prevent the Frost from penetrating the Ground; and when the Frost was very severe, I laid some Mats or Straw over the Leaves to protect them from being killed. With this Management the Roots have greatly increased, and have constantly flowered every Year; some of them have put out two or three stems, which grew near three Feet high, and produced many Flowers in each Umbel, which have made a fine Appearance during the Month of October. This Plant produces its Flowers in October, and the green Leaves come up soon after, and abide all the Winter and Spring until June, at which Time they decay; soon after which the Roots should be transplanted, for if they are let stand till July, they will have sent forth new Fibres, when it will greatly injure the Roots, if they are disturbed. 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.

4The fourth Sort is supposed to come originally from Japan, but has been many Years cultivated in the Gardens of Guernsey and Jersey; in both which Places, they seem to thrive as well as if it was their native Country; and from those Islands their Roots are sent annually to the Curious in most Parts of Europe, and are commonly called Guernsey Lilies. The Roots of this Plant are generally brought over in July and August; but the sooner they are taken out of the Ground after their Leaves decay, they are the better: For although the Roots which are taken up when their Flower Stems begin to appear, will flower, yet their Flowers will not be so large, nor will their Roots be near so good after, as those which were removed before they had sent out fresh Fibres.

When these Roots come over, they should be planted in Pots filled with fresh light sandy Earth, mixed with a little very roten Dung, and placed in a warm Situation, observing now and then to refresh the Earth with Water; But by no Means let them have too much Wet, which would rot their Roots, especially before they come up. About the Middle or End of September, such of the Roots as are strong enough to flower, will begin to shew the Bud of their Flower Stem (which is commonly of a red Colour); therefore you should remove these Pots into a Situation where they may have the full Benefit of the Sun, and may be sheltered from strong Winds: But by no Means place them too near a Wall, nor under Glasses, which would draw them up weak, and render them less beautiful. At this Season they should be gently refreshed with Water, if the Weather be warm and dry; but if it should prove very wet, they should be screened from it.

When the Flowers begin to open, the Pots should be removed under Shelter, to prevent the Flowers from being injured by too much Wet: But they must not be kept too close, nor placed in a Situation too warm, which would occasion their Colour to be less lively, and hasten their Decay. The Flowers of this Plant will continue in Beaut (if rightly managed) a full Month; and though they have no Scent, yet, for the Richness of their Colour, they are justly esteemed in the first Rank of the flowery Race.

After the Flowers are decayed, the green Leaves will begin to shoot forth in Length, and if sheltered from severe Cold, will continue growing all the Winter; but they must have as much free Air as possible in mild Weather, and be covered only in great Rains or Frosts; for which Purpose, a common hot Bed Frame is the properest Shelter for them; under which if they are placed, the Glasses may be taken off constantly every Day in dry open Weather, which will encourage the Leaves to grow strong and broad; whereas when they are placed in a Green-house, or not exposed to the open Air, they will grow long and slende, and have a pale weak Aspect, whereby the Roots will become weak, so that it seldom happens that they produce Flowers under such Management.

These Roots should be transplanted every fourth or fifth Year toward the latter End of June, or Begining of July, and planted into fresh Earth (but they should not be oftener removed, for that would retard their flowering). The Offsets should also be taken off, and planted into several Pots, which, in three Years Time, will produce Flowers; so that after a Person is once stocked with these Roots, they may increase them, so as to have a Supply of blowing Roots, without being at the Trouble or Expence of sending to Guernsey every Year for fresh Roots; and the Roots preserved here will flower stronger than those which are usually brought from thence, for the Inhabitants of those Islands are not very curiou in cultivating these Roots: Their usual Method is to plant them at a great Distance in a Bed of common Earth, where they let them remain for many Years: In which Time they produce such a Number of Offsets, that many Times one single Cluster has contained above a hundred Roots; by which Means, those which grow on the Inside are so much compressed by the outer Roots, that they are perfectly flated; and from the Number of Roots growing in each Cluster, they are all rendered weak, and so unfit to produce such large Stems of Flowers, as those which have grown single, and are of a spherical Figure.

But when a Person is possessed of a large Number of these Roots, it will be troublesome to preserve them in Pots, therefore there should be a Bed prepared of the following Earth, in some well sheltered Part of the Garden, viz. Take a third Part of fresh Virgin Earth from a Pasture Ground, which is light, then put near an equal Part of Sea Sand, to which you should add roten Dung, and sifter Lime Rubbish, of each an equal Quantity. With this Earth (when well mixed and incorporated) you sould make your Bed about two Feet thick, raising it about four or five Inches above the Surface of the Ground, if the Situation be dry; but if the Ground be wet, it sould be raised eight or nine Inches higher. In this Bed, about the Begining of July (as was before directed), you should plant the Roots about six or eight Inches asunder each Way; and in the Winter, when the Frost begins, you should either cover the Bed with a Frame, or arch it over, and cover it with Mats and Straw, to prevent their Leaves from being pinched with Cold; but in the Spring the Covering may be entirely removed, and the Bed kept constantly clear from Weeds, during the Summer, observing to stir the Surface of the Earth now and then; and every Year, when the Leaves are decayed, you should sift a little fresh Earth over the Beds, to encourage the Roots. In this Bed the Roots may remain until they are strong enough to produce Flowers, when they may be taken up and planted in Pots, as was before directed, or suffered to remain in the same Bed to flower.

The Roots of these Plants do not flower again the succeeding Year (as in many other Sorts of Bulbs); but if their Bulbs contain two Buds in their Center, as is often the Case, they very often flower within the Compass of three Years; after which, the same individual Root does not flower again in several Years, but only the Offsets from it.