The Gardener's Monthly and Horticulturist, 28: 295-298 (October 1886)

THE AMARYLLIS
H. NEHRLING

Genus Hippeastrum. I always read with much pleasure the various contributions on Amaryllis in your interesting and entertaining paper, especially Mr. Oberwelter's in the July number. I am an enthusiastic lover of this class of plants, and collect all I can get for a reasonable price. Since eight or nine years they are my favorite house plants. I made the acquaintance of a few hybrid forms in the gardens of Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, and was struck with their great beauty and noble form. I tried to learn the name, but I was told they were “red lilies.” At last I obtained a bulb and bought it with me to Missouri. It commenced to bloom in March in my window, and now I ascertained myself that it was Amaryllis Johnsoni, a hybrid of Hippeastrum vittatum. I then bought every year a collection, at first as many species as I could get, and later hybrids. The species I received from Haage & Schmidt (Erfurt, Germany), and the hybrids from the same firm and also from France, Belgium, Holland and England. It is a great drawback to the culture of these magnificent plants to call all without distinction Amaryllises. They certainly all bear this name, but this family comprises many different genera. The most magnificent genus is Hippeastrum (the Germans call them “Knight Stars”), commonly called Amaryllis, but Amaryllis proper, of which Amaryllis Belladonna is the type, differs from this genus. Next in beauty comes the genus Vallota, then Crinum, Nerine, Brunsvigia, Amocharis, Buphone, Cyrtanthus, Haemanthus, Pancratium, Zephyranthes and others. We at present usually understand the various hybrids of Hippeastrum under that name; but it occurs in many catalogues that inferior things are enumerated under the name of Amaryllis. So I received under the name of “Amaryllis grandis” and “A. Olga” two Crinums; but plants of this genus as a rule are not to be compared with the glorious splendor of the Hippeastrum tribe. The true amaryllis is a native of South Africa, whereas all Hippeastrums belong to our own continent, to tropical America. I have at present the following species in my collection:

1. (a) Hippeastrum aulicum, Herbert.

(b) H. aulicum platypetalum, Herb. — Beautiful red flowers, glittering in the sunshine as if covered with gold dust; commonly three or four flowers on a flower scape. The species is evergreen and somewhat difficult to manage.

2. (a) H. equestre. Herb.—West Indies and South America. Smaller than the other species. Very beautiful red, with greenish yellow star in the throat.

(b) H. equestre, fl. pl.,—has double flowers. Introduced to cultivation from the West Indies, where it is grown in gardens.

3. H. bulbulosum fulgidum, Herb. — Brazil. Flowers four on a scape, beautiful vermilion. Of this species there are many varieties, such as H. bulbulosum rutilum, orange with yellow throat. Of this variety I obtained in Florida a few bulbs for my collection. Others are: H. bulb. pulverulentum, crocatum, ignescens; all in cultivation and easy to grow.

4. H. Pardinum, Hook.—Collected 1866 in Peru by Mr. Pearce for J. Veitch & Son. The ground color is creamy white or yellow and the whole flower is spotted with red. There are various distinct varieties. A very beautiful one was figured in "Flore des Terres" (pl. 634), under the name of "Reverend Dombrain;" another kind in Revue Horticole under the name of H. pardinum tricolor. All the hybrids of H. pardinum are very beautiful.

5. H. psittacinum, Herb.—Brazil. Commonly two flowers on a scape; white, striped carmine; throat green, striped purple. Not so showy as others.

6. H.Regina, Herb.—Mexico and South. One of the first known species in European gardens. Ground color cherry-red, throat green. Very fine and easy to grow.

7. H. reticulatum. Herb.—Brazil. Leaves short and with a white stripe in the centre, therefore easy to distinguish from other species. Flowers rosy or violet colored, with darker veins and reticulations. Not very easy to manage. From this species Mr. B. S. Williams (Upper Halloway, London) raised some of the finest Amaryllises in cultivation. They are in form, color and growth far superior to the mother plant, and indeed glorious. All are easy to grow and usually flower in autumn. One of these hybrids is Amaryllis, Mrs. Garfield, of which a fine plate was given in the London Garden (vol. xxii, April 7, 1883). Similar but rather more beautiful is A. Mrs. William Lee, and A. Comte de Germiny, with flowers from 6 to 8 inches in diameter.

8. H. solandraeflorum, Herb.—South America. Flowers long tubed, greenish-white with a little red; very fragrant. Much finer is the following variety: H. solandraeflorum conspicuum, Herb. Flower scape 3 feet high with six to eight large white, red striped flowers; very fragrant. In Dr. Regel's "Gartenflora" (1878, pl. 949) a beautiful plate of this fine variety is given.

9. H. robustum, Koch (A. Tettani S. A. Rougieri). Native of the German colony Santa Catharina, in Brazil, from whence this Amaryllis was sent to Berlin by Dr. Blumenan, 1848. It is an evergreen, strong growing, exceedingly beautiful species; has showy leaves. Flowers deep carmine. Blooms generally in the last week of December, and is called in Germany the Christmas Amaryllis.

10. H. vittatum, Herb.—Brazil. One of the best, and has proven very fruitful in raising hybrids. There are now thousands of named and unnamed Amaryllises, all raised from this species.

The flowers are white, with a red stripe through the centre of each petal; slightly fragrant. I have also a very fine variety, H. vittatum Harrisonianum, Herb., native of Lima. Flowers white with two red stripes. This species and all the hybrids are easily managed. The cheapest of these are those with a red ground color, as they are apt to produce more offsets than the light-colored forms. There are other Hippeastrums, such as H. Leopoldi, H. pyrochroma, H. calyptratum, which are scarce in cultivation. Other species like H. ambiguum. Herb., H. breviflorum, Herb., H. barbatum. Herb., H. stylosum, Herb., H. miniatum, Herb., and H. glaucescens. Herb., appear to be lost to cultivation.

I have the following hybrids in my collection:

1. Hipp. (Amaryllis) Johnsonii Herb..—A cross between Hippeastrum vittatum and H. Reginae. Raised by Johnson in Lancashire, England, 1810, and a year later by Dean Herbert. This is the common Amaryllis of our Southern gardens. It is one of the best for the beginner, as it is easy to flower, very fine and slightly fragrant.

2. H. (Amaryllis) Cleopatra.—Dark red, with a clear white stripe. An exceedingly beautiful hybrid.

3. A. oriflamme.—White, banded with salmon. Fine form.

4. A. Prince of Orange.—Fine orange red; very showy.

5. A. Perle.—Sulphur white, with large salmon stripes. The last two and A. Olga I received from Nanz & Neuner (Louisville, Ky). They have also many unnamed fine hybrids of A. Johnsonii.

6. A. Defiance.—An evergreen hybrid and one of the finest in cultivation. Has large carmine-red flowers with bars of white running through the centre of each petal, and the whole flower lined and penciled with white; large, very fine formed flowers.

7. A. Artemise.—Pure white with large vermilion stripes.

8. A. Baffin.—Very dark red.

9. A. Clovis.— Fine transparent red with large white stripes.

10. A. Phoebe.—Pure white, striped and striated with carmine-rose. The last five with A. oriflamme can be obtained of Hallock, Son & Thorpe (East Hinsdale, N. Y.).

11. A. Refulgens and (12) A. Atrosanguinea.— Both very dark shining red, of fine form and texture. Cheap and very easy to grow. I obtained mine from Mr. Saul, Washington, D. C.

13. A. Graveana.—Beautiful red; a very fine hybrid. Advertised by Mr. Peter Henderson, New York. Besides these I have fine unnamed collections from Germany, Holland and France, many of which have not yet flowered. I mentioned only those which can be furnished by some of our leading florists.

Now I step to the finest hybrids in existence, but I do not know how to find words to describe their bright colors and fine forms according to their merit. The varieties of which I now speak were raised by Mr. B. S. Williams, Upper Halloway, London. These hybrids have become so popular in England that Mr. Williams found it necessary to erect a special Amaryllis house, in which thousands are grown at present. His magnificent hybrids are the results of many years careful labor and careful selection. If compared with the finest continental collections, which sell from $40 to $240 a dozen; they are cheap and are far more beautiful. Indeed, I have seen no Amaryllises that can be compared with these English kinds, either in coloring or form. Every lover of this class of plants should have at least a few of the following sorts:

1. Amaryllis Dr. Masters.—Flowers 6 inches in diameter, perfect in shape, the segments recurving so as to give a bold appearance. A deep crimson scarlet, colored to the base, with maroon shaded blotches. This is said to be the finest Amaryllis in cultivation, being unique both in color and form.

2. A. Exquisite.—A fine, well-defined flower, 7 inches in diameter, of exquisite shape, carmine scarlet, the larger or guard segments have distinct white stripes, whilst the others are beautifully flaked with the same.

3. A. Fascination.—One of the light colored type; flowers about 5 inches in diameter, segments perfectly round, regularly flaked and barred with reddish crimson.

4. A. Harry Williams.—A noble flower, about 8 inches in diameter, the segments about 4 inches broad and well shaped; the color is reddish purple, the centre of which is slightly flaked and penciled with white. A distinct type.

5. A. Loveliness.—Flowers about 7 inches in diameter, of rosy crimson color, white stripe in the center of each petal and also white margin.

6. A. Mrs. Garfield.— A cross between H. recticulatum and A. Defiance. Evergreen, leaves robust, with a white stripe. The flower-scape, which is thrown up about 2 feet, produces four to five flowers 6 inches in diameter, of good form and substance, and of a pleasing rosy-pink color, netted and veined with a darker tint of the same color; there is a white stripe in the centre of each petal, producing a most charming contrast to the numerous crimson-scarlet varieties now so common in collections.

7. A. Mrs. William Lee.—In growth this hybrid much resembles A. Mrs. Garfield, but the flowers are much larger and the color altogether richer. Similar is a new hybrid, A. Compte de Germiny, the finest of this group.

8. Mrs. B. T. Williams.—Part white and of fine form.

9. A. Masterpiece.— Flowers 6 to 7 inches across; sepals and petals broad, nicely recurved; color rich crimson-scarlet, with a violet shade extending entirely to the base and not showing a particle of an eye.

10. A. Prince Teck.— Flowers large, ground color being of a soft creamy yellow, which runs down the centre of each petal; the edges of the petals are deep crimson and beautifully marked with netted lines of the same color.

11. A. Princess Dagmar. Petals of great breadth, margined and veined with carmine-scarlet, and having a light base; one of the finest forms and most brilliant in color.

12. A. Triumphant.— Flowers 6 inches across, carmine-scarlet, segments perfectly round, with a light base flaked with white.

13. A. Unique.—Extra fine form, petals broad, color deep bright scarlet, centre of the petals shaded with black, white markings in the throat.

14. A. Williamsii.—Petals of great breadth and substance, ground color carmine scarlet and having a broad white band down the centre of each petal. Mr. Williams has raised many more beautiful hybrids, but these, 1 think, are the most beautiful. There is another celebrated Amaryllis grower in England, but I have not yet had an opportunity to procure some of his varieties. As soon as I know these hybrids from personal observation, I will give an account of them in the Gardeners' Monthly. And now, dear reader, I beg your pardon for this long paper.

Friestatt, Mo.

[The readers will rather thank than want to "pardon" the author of this excellent paper. Correspondents are continually asking the Editor for the names of their varieties, showing the want of just these descriptive notes as well as the widespread interest being taken in this beautiful tribe. In the Old World particular attention is being given to their culture, and some nurserymen are making them special branches. We give with this a view of the Amaryllis House, as it is called, at Veitch's Nursery, Chelsea.—Ed. G. M.]