Plant Life 1949
A Pink Amaryllis
Mary G. Henry
Amaryllis belladonna var Haywardi
Six days later, on February 8th, I happened to pass the same window when surely the term "rooted to the spot" applied to me.
The pink Amaryllis were still there, some half a dozen stalks in a vase. The flowers were a totally different pink from anything I had ever seen in an Amaryllis. The pink was a true pink of an exceedingly attractive and luscious shade. There was no tinge of magenta nor any hint of peach to mar the purity of the color.
The errands for which I went to town were forgotten. I acquired two stalks of the Amaryllis. There were two flowers on one stalk and three on the other. The well shaped flowers were large but not as large as the florists' hybrids commonly seen, and according to Ridgway the color was close to "Eosine Pink." I guessed the source whence these flowers came, as I knew that one of the officers of the Academy of Natural Sciences had recently been collecting birds in South America. Later on I learned that bulbs had been collected in Bolivia by a local bird collector. The Philadelphia ornithologist who brought them to the United States does not know if this species has as yet been identified.
My two precious stalks of this Amaryllis were kept in their box for five days until February 13th. I used the pollen on several Amaryllids then in bloom in my tiny greenhouse, keeping the stalks sprinkled in their narrow box. Suddenly an idea came to me. I placed the two stalks in a vasethere was but one flower remaining apieceand pollinated each with the other's pollen. This was on February 13th. Slowly one of the pods swelled. As the days passed, the cut end of the stem seemed to melt away. With trepidation I saw the rot creep higher and higher towards the enlarging pod. It was a race.
The seed pod won but the stem had literally rotted away. Just two months after pollination the fat pod split open, exposing the ripe seeds.
The seeds were sown April 18th. Many of them were soft and flabby and soon disintegrated, but roots emerged from a few on April 25th. Two of the tiny bulbs lived to put out leaves on May 18th. One of these grew apace but the other dwindled away.
In February 1948, just about four years after pollination, my one bulb of the precious pink Amaryllis sent up a sturdy stalk from which expanded three enchantingly lovely flowers! (Plate 8.)
What a thrill they gave me, and how precious and beautiful they seemed after the long but exciting wait. According to Traub & Moldenke this plant is Amaryllis belladonna var. Haywardii.
Amaryllis x henryae
(b) The plant is small in stature so that 3 or more bulbs can be grown in a 5-inch pot. This has been the objective of Amaryllis breeders for a long time past.
(c) The plant is vigorous and increases rapidly by offsets so that commercial growers will be able to work up large stocks in a relatively short time.
(d) The hybrid apparently blooms normally in December, and thus can be forced for the Christmas trade.
We are indebted to Mr. Mulford B. Foster, for bringing back the smaller statured species, Amaryllis espiritensis, from Brasil; to Mr. Carricker, Jr., Dr. de Schauensee and Mrs. Henry for giving us Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii (native to Bolivia), the first real pink Amaryllis, and to Mrs. Henry for making the synthesis that now gives us the first real miniature pink grandiflora hybrid Amaryllis. The hybrid is appropriately named for its originator, Mrs. Henry.xAmaryllis henryae Traub, hybr. nov.(Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii x A. espiritensis)
DESCRIPTION.Bulb small; leaves evergreen, spatulate, up to 31 cm. long, up to 3 and 3.5 cm. wide, or somewhat wider; scape 16-18 cm. tall; spathe 2-valved, valves 5.5 cm. long, lanceolate; umbel 2-flowered (in type); pedicels 2.5-3.5 cm. long at anthesis; ovary about 8 mm. long; tepaltube 2.5 cm. long; tepalsegs carmine, lanceolate, 7.5-8 cm. long, 1.7-3.2 cm. wide; stamens and style exserted. Type: Traub nos. 194 and 195, in the Traub Herbarium; type illustration, Fig. 22.
|Left: Amaryllis Johnsoni Right: A. x Gladwynensis|
The acquisition of my treasured bulb of Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii occurred in 1944. This important and unorthodox event was chronicled on page 83 of Herbertia, 1949.
At the same time that Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii was in bloom, a handsome vigorous red-flowered xAmaryllis was also in bloom. This was identified by Dr. Traub as xAmaryllis johnsonii (Plate 18, left). The bulb was sent to me by my daughter Josephine in 1945. She was in Assam with the Red Cross at the time. An army truck driver had brought it to her saying, "Here is a red Lily I got in the Naga Hills."
It was about January 1st, 1948, when I made the crosses, Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii X xA. johnsonii (= xAmaryllis Gladwynensis; Plate 18, right) and Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii X A. espiritensis (= xAmaryllis henryae; Fig. 22). The little tags that registered the crosses can plainly be seen in the picture page 85, Herbertia 1949. The seeds ripened in about two months. I planted one 12 x 12 inch flat with seeds of the first mentioned cross. It was March. Spring was in the air, the outdoors called me and I answered with my trowel and spade. The remaining seeds stayed where they had fallen to the sand of the greenhouse bench below them and there they sprouted and remained until the following autumn.
The seed pod pollinated with A. espiritensis was a bit later in ripening. Every one of these fell to the sand March 20th, where they sprouted and survived the summer, when they were planted in a flat and numerous pots. There were 44 of these. The plants developed from the seeds that had fallen to the sand were completely neglected by me, but there were orchids hanging overhead and when I sprinkled them, the baby xAmaryllis received a share and doubtless, too, received nutrition from this source.
So it was as usual, except for a few minutes to water night and morning, that I spent my days outside tending my Liliums of which I have over 125 species and varieties, my numerous deciduous Rhododendron seedlings, etc., etc.
By Autumn the xAmaryllis had developed into stout little bulbs. I admired enormously their courage and their "will to live," took pity on them and from then on have tried to take care of them.
Early in January, at an age of 1 year and 10 months, a flower bud emerged from one of the pot grown bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii X xA. johnsonii. Little did I know of the treat that was in store for me.
Not long afterward, this, my first hybrid Amaryllis seedling, expanded its utterly beautiful and utterly gorgeous carmine-pink flowers (Plate 18, right). Even if I had dreams for my first one, the flowers when they came exceed my highest hopes.
Before the season was over, and while still under two years of age, xAmaryllis gladwynensis had produced three stalks of its stunning flowers.
xAmaryllis gladwynensis M. G. Henry, hybr. nov.[Amaryllis belladonna var. haywardii X xA. johnsonii].
DESCRIPTION.Bulb large; leaves 6-8, lanceolate, up to 62 cm. long, 3.5 cm. wide in the middle; umbel 2-4 flowered; ovary 3 cm. long; tepaltube 3.5 cm. long; tepalsegs lanceolate, 10 cm. long, 2.2-4 cm. wide, carmine in type, other shades of red may appear in other individuals; paraperigone absent; stamens obscurely trilobed. Type: nos. 108 and 109, in the Traub Herbarium; type illustration, Plate 18, right.
NOTES.The individual of xAmaryllis johnsonii used in the cross is shown in Plate 18, left.
In 1953, the writer made the cross, Amaryllis cybister x A. belladonna var. haywardii, and the first flowers were obtained in 1956, but due to other duties no record was taken. The bulbs were taken up and potted, and they again flowered in April, 1960.
The bulbs have only a few leaves; are deciduous and go into a profound resting period over winter as in Amaryllis cybister. The scape is slender, reddish at the base and light green upwards. The umbel is 2-flowered as in A. belladonna var. haywardii. The spathe-valves are lanceolate, shorter than the 6.5-7 cm. long pedicels. The ovary is green, 1.3 cm. long, 7 mm. in diam. The tepaltube is 1.3 cm. long; the paraperigone closes in the throat and is bearded with short whitish bristles. The perigone is almost as irregular as in A. cybister, is whitish on the back sides of the segs, and pink on the inner side of the segs which shows that the pink color of A. belladonna var. haywardii is dominant over the crimson color of A. cybister. The pink color is darker pink in the throat. The lower halves of the two side setsegs, and the whole bottom petseg is much lighter pink, showing that the color pattern of A. cybister is dominant over the solid color pattern of A. belladonna var. haywardii. The stamens and style are pinkish; much exserted and the style is longer than the stamens, as in A. cybister. The stigma is very shortly 3-lobed, lobes rounded.
These results show that it may be fairly easy to obtain the irregular shaped flower type of Amaryllis cybister in various other colors by hybridization with other species and hybrids. Amaryllis cybister is 4-6 flowered, and most likely scapes with four or more flowers will be obtained in the segregates from selfing the first generation hybrids.
An additional report will be made when the second generation hybrids flower.