Paxton's Flower Garden (1851-1852) t.68
John Lindley

THE BLAND AMARYLLIS
(AMARYLLIS BLANDA)


A Stove Bulbous Plant from the Cape of Good Hope, belonging to the Natural Order of Amaryllids.
Specific Character
THE BLAND AMARYLLIS.—Flowers horizontal, closely umbelled, with a short tube. In A. Belladonna the flowers are somewhat erect and fewer, and there is no tube at all. AMARYLLIS BLANDA; floribus horizontalibus dense umbellatis. In A. Belladonna flores pauciores suberecti, et tubus nullus.

Amaryllis blanda: Ker in Botanical Magazine, vol. xxxv. t. 1450; Herbert, Amaryllidaceae. p. 277.
For the opportunity of figuring this beautiful plant we are indebted to Mrs. Bellenden Ker, in whose collection, at Cheshunt, it flowered last September. It was bought in a lot marked "Hybrid," at the sale of plants of the late Dean of Manchester. Kept in a stove it grew very rapidly, soon going to rest; and suspicion arose that the stove was not the right place for it. But last year, while apparently at rest, it threw up two large flower-stems, loaded with fragrant bloom. The bulb is covered with a pale brown soft skin, composed of multitudes of this layers filled with cottony threads. The leaves are grass-green, an inch and a quarter broad, with a regularly-rounded point. Twelve or thirteen beautiful large flowers, thin, delicate French white, changing to pink, load the end of the scape, forming an umbel of great sweetness.

There can be no doubt that it is the identical Amaryllis blanda figured thirty-eight years ago in the "Botanical Magazine," and now almost unknown in cultivation, concerning which the late learned Dean of Manchester makes the following remarks:—

"This beautiful plant was found by Niven, who collected for Mr. Hibbert, and I believe has never since been met with by any collector. I purchased one of the bulbs when Mr. Hibbert disposed of his collection, and Mr. Griffin had another. Mr. Knight, of the King's Road, Chelsea, who had the rest, killed them by planting them in the open ground, which they will not endure in this country, and I believe there are no bulbs of it in Europe but the produce of those two. I lost two by planting them in front of the stove; one died the first winter, the other only lingered till the second. The leaves of this and the following species, when cut by frost or drought at the points, will not continue to grow like those of Belladonna. It requires an airy situation in the greenhouse in winter, drought and dry heat in summer, and will then flower magnificently in September. Whatever may have been the growth of its leaves, it will not flower if it is left in a cold situation while dry."

It is very near the well-known Belladonna Lily, especially a pallid variety of that species, not rare in gardens; but it is quite different in constitution, and clearly distinguished by its flowers having a very perceptible tube, instead of rising abruptly from the top of the ovary. The flowers are moreover more numerous, more fragrant, and more horizontal. The late Mr. Ker, when he originally published it, observed that it would be superfluous to particularize differences, which a comparison of the figures and descriptions of the two plants would so easily show. "In Belladonna the segments of the corolla do not cohere at all beyond their base, but converge in such way as to give the appearance of their so doing; the leaves are of a dark dingy green, scarcely more than half an inch broad, and never attain a length in any way equalling the scape; which circumstances are here mentioned, because they were omitted in our account of that species. Blanda is a native of the Cape of Good Hope, where it was gathered by Sir Joseph Banks; was sent to Miller in 1754 by Van Royen from Holland, and flowered in the Chelsea Garden."

 

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