Blank Specimen in Clifford Herbarium
Rubra Bicolour

This unlabeled specimen of a Cape Belladonna has been identified by L.S. Hannibal as the form Rubra Bicolour which has long been grown in Madeira and California.

Sealy and others have claimed without evidence that this specimen was used by Linnaeus as a "working type" for Amaryllis belladonna. Sealy's logic is fascinating:

Sealy had no evidence, so he shifted the burden to those who would disagree. This is an illogical bit of nonsense which he supported with manufactured "facts". For example, he claimed that Philip Miller identified Amaryllis Belladonna as the Cape Belladonna, which is incorrect.

Miller (1768) accepted Amaryllis Belladonna as the name for the Scarlet Belladonna, and Amaryllis reginae as the Cape Belladonna, just as Linnaeus named them in Species Plantarum second edition (1762). Lamarck (1783) acknowledged the names, but substituted punicea and rosea respectively. That is, the currently approved Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Kuntze was identified by Lamarck with Amaryllis Belladonna Linn.

Miller continued to misapply the Hortus Cliffortianus description, Amaryllis spatha multiflora, corolla aequalibus, genitalibus declinatis, to the Cape plant because of its association with Sloane's Lilio-narcissus polyanthos, flore incarnato, fundo ex luteo albescente. This is confusing, but the fact remains that Linnaeus, Miller and Lamarck agreed on which names were associated with which plates in Miller's Dictionary.

Miller admitted that he was unable to confirm the existence of a Pink Belladonna in the West Indies, but was reluctant to dismiss Ehret's misidentification which had become fashionable around Chelsea and Kew.


George Clifford continued collecting and distributing plants long after Linnaeus returned to Sweden. He sent Philip Miller plants of the new Strawberry Fragaria x ananassa, which Miller first described in the 1759 edition of the Gardeners Dictionary. In that same edition Miller described another new plant, recently received from the Cape of Good Hope: "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." This is a far better match for the Clifford specimen than Hermann's "puniceo flore".
The absence of Amaryllis Belladonna from the Linnaean herbarium is no mystery. After the fire of 1766 swept through Uppsala, Linnaeus built a little museum at Hammarby without a fireplace. By the time Carl Jr. acquired the collection, many specimens had been damaged by rats, wood-mice and mould. He apparently discarded the damaged sheets.