Mod. 2 Jan 2001
Plantas Horti Universitatis
Rariores Programmate

Christianus Friis Rottböll (1773)

8. CRINUM biflorum, leaves concave, distichous; two-flowered spathe.

SCAPE rounded, thick, compressed, or wider (latere), reddish, nine inches to a foot long, emerges from the bulb beside the leaves.

LEAVES several at base of scape, in two overlapping ranks or distichous, lance-like, pointed, concave, fleshy, narrow, red at base, apex reflexed, margin somewhat spinulous rough on the backside, a foot long, about a thumb-and-a-half wide.

SPATHE two-flowered, membranous, rolled-back, short tubed, two-leaved, with a few flaps (bracts?) inside.

COROLLA monopetalous; Tube cylindrical, slightly incurved, colored almost like the scape, about 2 thumbs long; Limb six parted; petals lance-like, narrow, wide-spread, 1/3rd shorter than the tube, white; One group has keel & apex red; the remaining alternating group, has appendages from the inside at the ends, keel & apex yellowish or less intensely reddish.

STAMENS Filaments 6 declining, bent upwards, red; Anthers linear in two parts, moveable, yellow.

PISTIL Style declining, bent-upwards, colored like the filaments.


8. CRINUM biflorum, foliis concavis, distichis; spatha biflora.

SCAPUS teres, crassus, compressus, altero latere, purpurascens, spithamam vel pedem longus, ad foliorum e bulbo prorumpens.

FOLIA ad basin scapi plura, bifariam imbricata sive disticha, lanceolatis, acuta, concava, carnosa, stricta, ad basin purpurea, apice reflexa, margine spinulis minimis retrorsum scabra, pede longiora, sesquipollicem circiter lata.

SPATHA biflora, membranacea, revoluta, tubo brevior, diphylla, cum laciniis paucis interioribus.

COROLLA monopetala; Tubus cylindricus, subincurvus, colore fere scapi, 2 pollices circiter longus; Limbus sexpartitus; laciniis lanceolatis, angustis, patentibus, tubo 1/3 parte brevioribus, candidis; Tribus carina & apice, purpureis; reliquis tribus cum his alternis, appendicula intus terminatis, carina & apice flavescentibus vel minus intense rubentibus.

STAMINA. Filamenta 6 declinata, subulata, purpurea; Antherae lineares didymae, versatiles, flavae.

PISTILLUM. Stylus declinatus, subulatus, colore filamentorum.


9. CRINUM Zeilanicum, foliis scabro-dentatis, scapo compressiusculo. Linn. Syst. Nat. Tom. II. p. 236?

SCAPUS bipedalis, compressus, pollicem transversum latus, anceps, nigro-purpureus; maculis latiusculis, undulatis, aspersus, inter folia erumpens.

FOLIA 4-pedalia & ultra, 3 circiter pollices ad basin lata, lanceolata, acuta, concava, carnosa, stricta, apice reflexa, margine spinulosa-dentata, undique imbricata, inferius profunde purpurea.

Spatha (4-5) multiflora, diphylla; Folia lanceolata, membranacea, striata, marcescentia, tubo florum breviora; praeter alia interiora minora, quorum unum singulo flori appositum.

FLORES in specimine, quod vidi, 3 totidem pedicillis crassis, cylindricis, brevibus insistentes; Praeter hos bini, quorum alter monstrosus, pedunculum palmarem coronantes.

COROLLA monopetala, maxima; Tubus palmaris, cylindricus, rectus, colore scapi; Limbus sexpartitus, laciniis lanceolatis, acutis, patentibus, apice reflexis, dorso intensius ac in praecedente purpurascentibus; alternis intus appendiculatis.

STAMINA & PISTILLUM praecedentis, a quo diversissimum. Utrumque Hortum nostrum ante meam Praefecturam ornavit. Posterius praelapsa aestate floruit. Prius quovis anno floret.


The identity of Rottböll's plant is a bit of a mystery. The description agrees most closely with A. barbata. However, there is also a more than passing resemblance to Amaryllis striata Lam.

Lamarck's species was based on Plukenet's Lilio-Narcissus Indicus, (s. Narcissus Liliflorus) aureus striis, argenteis pictus, floribus amplis cernuis gemellis, caule magno Cepæ fistuloso. That is, "Lily-Daffodil striped with gold, trimmed in silver; twin flowers, flared and nodding; large stem and fistulous head." Plukenet's flower apparently had a longer tube than the modern A. striata. When the figure is scaled to give a tube length of about 2 thumbs, the scape is just at 9 inches—in agreement with Rottböll's description of Crinum biflorum.

Lamarck described his Amaryllis striata: " Its bulb grows some leaves [which are] narrow, pointed, channeled, and nearly erect [or straight]. Its stem is a hollow shaft which o'ertops the leaves, is tipped with a bivalvate spathe, and bears two beautiful yellow flowers, pedunculate and nodding both on the same side. These blossoms are large, tubular, quite wide-spreading [tending towards the flat-faced] at the "entry" of the corolla, & notable by way of the silvery longitudinal stripes, set on a ground of the color gold."

He altered the sense of Plukenet's description by shifting a comma. Plukenet's phrase became "aureus, striis argenteis pictus", which Lamarck described as silvery stripes on a golden ground. Rottböll's plant had red stripes on a whitish ground.


Amaryllis striata Lamarck

Lilium rubrum Merian
Traub reported the tube length of Amaryllis barbata as about 1.5 inch, which is only a little shorter than Rottböll's "2 pollices". The specimen of Amaryllis dubia Alm in the Linnean Herbarium in Sweden has a shorter tube, and no obvious red pigment. Amaryllis barbata reportedly varies in coloring, with more or less red along the keels.

In the late 17th to mid-18th centuries there was considerable disagreement regarding the distinctions between Amaryllis and Crinum. Rottböll was apparently persuaded by the tube length, and perhaps the stripes, that his plant was a Crinum. Alm, on the other hand, saw a stronger resemblance to Merian's Lilium rubrum, which Linnaeus had formerly included under Amaryllis Belladonna. Linnaeus changed Amaryllis zeylanicus to Crinum zeylanicum. Later, Amaryllis capensis L. became Crinum tenellum L.f. [=Hessea tenella (L.f.) Oberm.]

John Hill's Amaryllis biflora (1774) apparently had no connection with Rottböll's Crinum biflorum (1773). Hill's figure of the "Jamaica Amaryllis" shows a flower with only a short tube, quite different from Rottböll's biflorum in color and form.

Two points suggest caution, however, in identifying Rottböll's plant. The phrase "appendicula intus terminatis" may refer to the drip flap at the tips of the petals of some Crinums, and the somewhat spinulous leaf margins and rough leaf back also suggests a Crinum.