The New Gardener's Dictionary (1771)
John Dicks

gardener to the Duke of Kingston

Amaryllis, Lily-daffodil, a genus of plants, ranged by Linnaeus under the hexandria monogyna, and of which he has enumerated nine species.

1. Amaryllis, with many flowers from the cup, and those equal, and of a campanulated form, commonly called the crimson Amaryllis, and by some writers the American Lily;

Crimson Amaryllis

The most vulgar eye is struck with the beauty of this plant, and it very well deserves the title of elegant; its proper name is Amaryllis, with many flowers from the cup, and those equal, and of a campanulated form, and with the threads crooked.

The root is large, and of a rounded form; the leaves are long and flaggy, but of a fresh and very, lively green. The stalk is round, firm, upright, green, and juicy. The flowers stand at the top, several rising from one point together, out of a common scabbard, and spreading out each way to form an elegant cluster.

Each flower is very large, and extremely elegant; its color is a fleshy crimson, and in the center there is a large circle of yellow, terminated every way by a kind of rays; each separate flower grows naked to its footstalk, without a cup: the scabbard, at the top of the main stalk serving that office for all.

The body of the flower is composed of six broad, waved, and pointed petals, rising small and slender from the base, and spreading elegantly at the opening. Within stand six long and very conspicuous filaments, with large buttons at the top; the filaments droop and bend, and their buttons rise upward. In the center of these stands the style, a little shorter than the filaments, bending in the same manner with them, and parted at the top into three slender segments. The seed vessel is oval, and contains, in three cells, numerous, moderately large seeds.

Culture of the Crimson Amaryllis

It is native of the warmest parts of Armenia, [sic] and its roots are brought thence in abundance; our people complain that they are rarely good; but this is owing to an error in management. The roots, when taken up, are planted, through a mistaken care, in boxes of damp mould, by being removed at a wrong time they are weakened, and they rot with the abundant moisture.

Every one knows that roots of all this kind of plants will bear to be out the ground, taking them up at proper seasons; and thus they may be transported, without fear of accident. It is natural in these plants for the flowers to appear before the leaves.

About the first week in September a naked stalk rises to support the flowers; soon after come the leaves, and they keep green till May; all these plants have their time of growing, and their period of rest. These are the months in which the root is employed to take up nourishment, and to convey it to the stalks, the flowers, the seed-vessels, or leaves: but towards the end of May the leaves fade, and nothing else rises till the succeeding September: this is the time of rest in the plant, but not all of it; the fibres are shot out in August for the nourishment of the September stalk, so that the time for the absolute rest is the end of May, all June, and the beginning of July. Within this period let the roots be taken up in the native place of the plants growth: let the earth be taken from them, let them be spread to dry gently, and then tyed up in bags; thus they may be sent over to England in their full vigor.

There will thus be no error in taking them up while growing, no danger of their rotting in coming over: they will be kept in the same condition, as if brought from some careful gardener, who had taken them out of the earth in the due course of his profession, and they will grow freely.

They require heat to produce their flowers, and the best management is to plant them in a compost half mould, one quarter rotted wood, and the other quarter sand. In this they are to be carefully planted, and the pots to be set in a hot bed of tanners bark; less heat will keep them alive, but thus they never fail to flourish.


It should be noted that the bloom time indicated by Dicks is for South America where the plants originated. There are species of Amaryllis in the Bahia district of Brazil which fit the description, and bloom in the autumn—which is the beginning of the rainy season there.
I have since found that Dicks' descriptions are taken almost verbatim from John Hill's Eden (1757).