The Burbank Seed Book (1913)

New Burbank Giant Amaryllis 'Martinique'

A remarkable new Hybrid of the Sprekelia Formosissima or Jacobean Lily with Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) Vittata, one of the most unique hybrids which have been produced among bulbous plants.

The flowers are fiery crimson—like those of the Jacobean lily but very much larger. These blooms are nine inches in diameter and are even more remarkable for their long curious, twisted petals, which give the flower a strange appearance and which is not found anywhere among the Amaryllidae.

The leaves are pale green, upright, strap-shape, one inch wide and eighteen to twenty inches long.

The flowers are fiery crimson on slender stams from one and a half to two feet long—two flowers to each stem.

Bulbs $2 each; $15 per ten.

Picture below from American Florist 35: 287 (Sept. 3, 1910)


Methods and Discoveries (1914)
Still Wider Hybridizations

Having reached something like the limits of variation attainable through hybridization of the different species of Hippeastrum, I extended the experiments by crossing the new amaryllis hybrids with plants of other allied genera, notably with Sprekelia and Crinum.

The Sprekelia is represented by a single species indigenous to Mexico and sometimes called the Jacobean lily. It has long, slender, strap-shaped leaves, and a showy crimson flower of an unusual form that suggests a bird in flight.

I have worked on the Sprekelia more or less for twenty years, raising probably a hundred thousand seedlings. But I succeeded only once in hybridizing the plant, with the production of fertile offspring.

The hybrid amaryllis that made union with the Jacobean lily was my new vittatum type, having pale red flowers striped with white. Only a single hybrid of this union bloomed, but from this a number of seedlings were grown.

The hybrid offspring of these plants of different genera had long, narrow, strap-shaped leaves much like those of Sprekelia (the pollen parent), but the blossoms were very much larger than those of that plant, and they had very curiously twisted petals, unlike those of either parent.

As might be expected in the offspring of plants so widely separated, the hybrids were almost infertile. As already noted, only a single variety bore blossoms, and although the blossoms were produced almost continuously throughout the summer, there was seldom any seed, and it was with difficulty that I succeeded in raising seven or eight seedlings.

In a more recent year, however, I succeeded in hybridizing many blossoms of Sprekelia with the pollen of an improved hybrid Hippeastrum, and secured about 800 seedlings which showed the characteristics of the other hybrids obtained by the reciprocal cross of the same species. The second generation hybrids, and also those of the third generation, showed a strong tendency to revert back to the giant hybrid species of amaryllis, rather than toward natural species.