Voyage to the islands, Madera, Barbados, Nieves, S. Christopers and Jamaica, with a natural history of the herbs...
Sir Hans Sloane, 1707. 1: 244-245.

Narcissus totus albus latifolius polyanthos major odoratus, staminibus sex è tubi ampli margine extantibus. Cat. p. 115. Autre sorte of Lys. Rochef. tabl. p. 112. Narcissus Americanus, flore multiplici albo odore balsami Peruviani. Tournef. Inst. p. 358. White Lily.

This has a tunicated bulb as large as ones Fist, made up of one white thick Coat over another, as Onions, and having at base may white fibers, by which it draws its Nourishment. The Leaves are two Foot long, about three Inches broad, channel'd, or being a little concave in the inside, very green, juicy and smooth . In the middle of these rises a flat Stalk, four Foot high, not hollow, but fill'd with a fungous matter, when cut dropping water, about one third part of an Inch thick, and being sharp at the edges. At the top of this are six or seven, or more white Flowers, standing each on a six Inches long Foot-Stalk, each of which has a large Tubus, having six Ribs, very long Stamina, or Lingulae with long Apices, dividing it into so many parts, and standing up above the Flower on its edge or margin two Inches long, being there of a green colour. A Stylus of the same colours, is in the middle. There are six white, five Inches long, very narrow, divided Petala, which stand between the aforesaid Lingulae. The Flowers of this Plant have a very fragrant smell. It grows in the Savanna's beyond the Black River in the Low-Land Woods every where in Jamaica, in the Woods in St. Christophers, and by the roads in Barbados.

It is not only coveted as an ornamental and pleasant in Gardens, but likewise the Roots are us'd all over these Islands, in lieu of White-Lilly-Roots for Maurating Cataplasms. [A maturating cataplasm is a poultice used to "ripen" or "draw up" a boil.]


Lilio-narcissus polyanthos, flore incarnato, fundo ex luteo albescente. (Sloane) Cat. p.115. Lilium Americanum, puniceo flore, bella donna dictum. Herm. par. bat. p.194. Lys des Antilles pareilles a nos Lys jaunes ou orangers. Rochef. Tabl. p.112. Lilionarcissus Americanus puniceo flore Bella donna dictus. Plukenet. Alm. p.220.

pp. 244-245: The root of this is no larger than that of a great onion, or the half of one's fist, a little oblong, made up of many white tunicles or coats, including one another, after the manner of onions, having under its base many whitish fibers drawing its nourishment. The leaves are one foot long, an inch and a half broad, juicy, of a very fresh green colour, blunt, round, or obtuse at their ends, channel'd or furrowed toward the stem or inwards. The stalk rises from the leaves, being one foot and a half high, hollow, of about one quarter of an inch diameter, sustaining on its top several flowers going out of, or inclosed in a membranous sheath or follicle bow'd back, or hanging down by two inches long foot-stalks [pedicels]. Each of the flowers is wide open, of a yellowish and white colour in the middle, and of a Carnation, or pale red the rest, having in its center several reddish and yellow stamina.

It is planted along walks sides for ornament in gardens, and comes from Barbados, where it is wild. It is said likewise to grow wild in gullies here, and to come from Surinam.


CybeRose References:

Laet, Joannes - lib. 15, cap. 10, (p. 567?) L'histoire du Nouveau monde (1640)
In the French translation of 1640, book 15 deals with "Brasil and Guaiana". Chapter 10 begins on page 507. The brief passage, on page 509, merely mentions the white and red lilies. The work was compiled from various sources, and printed as early as 1625. I could not find the Red Lily in the 1630 Dutch edition, but Gothic type is hard to read.

Ligon, Richard - A true & exact history of the island of Barbados: 1657 (p. 99) Mentioned a "red Lilly", and noted that it is not fragrant.

Rochefort, Charles de - Histoire Naturelle des les Antilles de l'Amerique: (1658) 1661 (p. 133) Red Lily is compared to the yellow or orange Daylilies.

Rochefort, Charles de - Le tableau de l'isle de Tobago: 1665 (p. 112) Red Lily is described as orange, and said to be similar in form to the Daylily of the same color.

Du Tertre, Jean Baptiste - Histoire generale des Antilles habitées par las Francois: 1667-71 (2:110-111) Red Lily is described as resembling a Tulip, pale orange with a white base.

Hermann, Paul - Paradisus Batavas Prodromo: 1689 (p. 348) Lilium Americanum puniceo flore Bella Donna dictus. No other description.

Hermann, Paul - Paradisus Batavas: 1698 (p. 194, pl. 194) Flowers like those of a Daylily but larger, elegantly scarlet. Earliest known plate of the American Belladonna.