Blank Specimen in Clifford Herbarium
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:
1) In the Clifford herbarium, now at the British Museum (Natural History),
London, there is a specimen immediately recognizable as the Cape
Belladonna. The specimen bears no name or identification, and therefore
there is no ground for stating either that it is the basis of Amaryllis
Belladonna, or that it is the plant which Linnaeus knew in the Clifford
garden, for the specimen may have been added to the herbarium after
Linnaeus had left Holland.
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
2) There is a specimen of the Cape Belladonna in the Clifford Herbarium,
but no specimen of Hippeastrum equestre.
3) The specimen of the Cape Belladonna in the Clifford Herbarium may
actually be the type, but unfortunately this cannot be proved.
4) However, in the absence of evidence to the contrary this specimen may
be accepted as the working type.
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.