The Gardeners' Chronicle, July 21, 1928. p. 49.
(Herbert. App. Plate 21.)
A. Worsley, Isleworth.
Herbert presumably reconstructed the specimen of Hippeastrum barbatum in the Linnaean Herbarium with description, and drew his fragmentary coloured figure from it. For he states that "No other writer had noticed this plant, and it has never been brought to Europe." The Linnaean specimen came from Surinam, and I find no record of this plant since 1837 until the spring of 1928, when live bulbs were sent to London from Guiana.
Those who had not seen this species in flower were inclined to place it as an albino of H. equestre, which it resembles in some respects. It is distinct in other respects, and is bearded in a way so remarkable that no doubt exists as to the propriety of the specific name originally given to it.
On May 31 of this year, I was accorded an opportunity of seeing two of these plants in flower for the first time in English gardens, and found them to fit fairly well with Herbert's description.
|* I gathered a distinctly bearded var. of H. equestre growing wild not far from Caraccas, but this "beard" was a regular fringe around the throat, and not comparable with that of H. barbatum.|
The flowers are strangely irregular in shape, and are bearded at the throat in a manner affected by no other Hippeastrum, having long tufts of hairs curled about like the wisps of a wild man's beard.* The poise of the inflorescence resembles that of H. equestre, but the upper segment is neither much wider than the rest, nor is it reflexed upwards as in H. equestre.
This is not a plant of horticultural merit, nor of value for crossing, but it possesses much botanical and historical interest.