Belladonna Chronicle
High points of my research into history of the nomenclature of the Belladonnas.


19 May 2010: Reviewing this chronicle to check for bad links, I found that Joseph Banks also mentioned Amarillis mexicana in his Endeavour log.

December 1768
7. This morn weighd and stood out to sea. As soon as we came to Sta Cruz the pilot desired to be dischargd and with him our enemy the guard boat went off, so we were left our own masters and immediately resolved to go ashore on one of the Islands in the mouth of the harbour: their ran a great swell but we made shift to land on one calld Raza, on which we gatherd many species of Plants and some insects. Alstromeria salsilla was here in tolerable plenty and Amarillis mexicana, they were the most specious plants; we stayd till about 4 o Clock and then came aboard the ship heartily tired, for the desire of doing as much as we could in a short time had made us all exert ourselves in a particular manner tho exposd to the hottest rays of the sun just at noonday.


16 Mar 2005: I recently found a letter I wrote to Les Hannibal Feb 11, 2001:

I went over to Berkeley, Friday, and found some more goodies. James Douglas's 1725 "Lilium Sarniense" contained some surprises. He discussed the "Lilio Narcissus Indicus Rubeus" (as he wrote the name) of Aldinus, and reported that some folks actually believed that it was the Guernsey lily. He recommended that they compare his description to the text and figures of Aldinus and Ferrari — which suggests that he had seen these works for himself, and that they must have been available for his readers to consult.

Tjaden made a fuss about Linnaeus citing Douglas's work with regards to his 2nd species (Belladona). The fact that Douglas actually mentioned the American Belladonna in that work removes some of the sting from Tjaden's article.


7 Apr 2004: Buc'hoz (Histoire du Regne Vegetal, 1774-1775) reproduced Rumph's plate labeled "Amaryllis spatha multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus, genitalibus declinatis h. Cliff."; "Tulipa javana Rumph"; and "Belledame". Burman, who edited Rumph's Herbarium Amboinense (1741), discussed the generic similarities and specific differences of the two plants. Buc'hoz missed the point, and assumed that the two were the same. 13 Feb 2010: Someone later followed Buc'hoz's error and colored the print (in)appropriately.

6 Apr 2004: Sr. Pierfelice Ravenna has added a new twist to the old debate over the proper application of the name Amaryllis belladonna L. My one objection is that C14 dating is not as precise as we might like. There have been cases where an inner ring of a tree gave a later date than an outer ring of the same tree. It makes a great difference where the carbon originated. For instance, a plant grown in an industrial area like London of the 19th century would absorb carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels. Thus, it would register an older date than a similar plant growing in cleaner air some distance away.

It also may be relevant that a variety of Cape Belladonna strikingly similar to the blank specimen was recorded in Flore des Serre ser. II iv. t. 1415 (1861) as Amaryllis belladonna var. rubra and Amaryllis mutabilis speciosa purpurea Truff. I have the plate but not the text, so I can't say whether the plant was raised from seed (Truffaut was a noted plant breeder) or imported. Ravenna's questions are worth considering. Sealy was thoroughly dishonest in his report. Perhaps he or one of his several helpers went a bit further.

The last argument for retaining the name Amaryllis belladonna L for the African plant now called Brunsvigia rosea (Lam.) Hann., falls down before the evidence that this specimen, a scape in flower, was pressed well beyond 1737, the year of publication of Hortus Cliffortianus. In fact, the writer obtained a 3 mm long piece from the scape base, and sent it to Geochron Laboratories datation company, a division of Krueger Enterprises, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mr. Harry Krueger, Manager, informed [me] that the C14 procedure on the AMS sample, revealed that the specimen was alive on a date between 1744 and 1844, on account of the markerd date. Therefore, hardly could Linnaeus had examined this material when he elaborated Hortus Cliffortianus. Who inserted the specimen in the Clifford Herbarium? Who could had special interest in doing that? The reader may judge.


4 Nov 2003: Also in 1768, Banks recorded finding Amaryllis Belladonna Linn. in Madeira. This must be the Cape Belladonna, which is still naturalized on the island. This proves that the confusion did not begin with Linn. fils. as Uphof concluded.

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Bea02Bank-t1-back-d6-d3.html

In the same year, Philip Miller correctly identified Amaryllis Belladonna L. with the American species in the 8th edition of his Gardeners Dictionary.


16 Sept 2002: I checked the catalog (Part 2 Botany: Brazil, Java, Madeira, New Zealand, Society Islands and Tierra del Fuego) of the illustrations and collections of Capt. Cook's Endeavour voyage 1768-1771. Amaryllis reginae is not listed. Nor is there a figure of the plant in Banks manuscript. Apparently the plant was cultivated, rather than wild. But whether it was a native plant or the Amaryllis reginae of Linnaeus and Miller (Cape Belladonna), remains an open question.

17 Jan 2002: In 1768, Captain James Cook's H.M.S. Endeavour stopped in Brazil, where Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander collected and described numerous plants. Among these was Amaryllis reginae. There were many Old World plants in this list, including Rosa centifolia and R. sempervirens. It remains to be seen whether this Amaryllis reginae was a cultivated Cape Belladonna or a native plant.

http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-Bea02Bank-t1-back-d6-d4.html


15 Dec 2001: Today I learned that yet another English publication, The Universal Gardener by Thomas Mawe and John Abercrombie (1778), also confirmed the identity of Amaryllis reginae as the Cape Belladonna, and Amaryllis belladonna as the Mexican lily.
12 Oct 2001: Early in my study of the confusion over Amaryllis belladonna L., I found a copy of Miller's Figures of Beautiful Plants published in 1771. The copy I examined was missing the plates.

I have now learned that Martyn added new labels to the plates in his later edition (ca. 1785). The Cape Belladonna, t. 24, was identified as Amaryllis belladonna. I have not yet seen t. 23 of this edition, but I assume that it was labeled Amaryllis reginae.

In the Gardeners Dictionary of 1768, Miller identified the Cape Belladonna as Amaryllis regina, and the American or "Mexican" lily as Amaryllis belladonna, in agreement with Linnaeus. Therefore, Martyn chose to ignore Miller's published opinions regarding the names. He was, so far as I have been able to discover, the first to reverse the names Belladonna and Reginae in print.

Linnaeus first published the name Amaryllis reginae in Syst. Nat. 1759. In this publication, the dipthong "ae" is unclear. The loop corresponding to the "e" is narrow and easily overlooked, which explains why Miller saw the name as "regina".


6 Apr 2001: I found Hanmer's Garden Book, and some more details about the Barbados bulbs. They bloomed in May 1656 with "two flowers shap't like Lillyes, of a fine shining red color, betwixt an Orenge and a Pinke." He wrote of the "great greene smooth hollow stalke", which was later mentioned by Sloane and Hill, but ignored by Linnaeus and Miller.
31 Mar 2001: According to John Fisher (Mr Marshal's Flower Album, 1985), in 1659, Sir Thomas Hanmer wrote about some Amaryllis bulbs he had received from Barbados in 1655. He guessed that they were autumnal because they did not bloom again in Spring after the first season. However, neither did they bloom in Autumn. This may have been part of the foundation for the Belladonna confusion that originated in the London area. At any rate, the Barbados lily bloomed in three gardens "in and neere London" in 1656, long before the Belladonna lily reached England from Portugal (1712).
28 Mar 2001: In 1753, Heister distinguished the Cape Belladonnas as Liliago, with no trivial name, in his work on Brunsvigia. This name predates Callicore Link and Belladonna Sweet. Linnaeus did not describe the Cape Belladonna, as Amaryllis reginae, until 1759. Liliago reginae (L.) Heist. may be an acceptible name for the species.
24 Jan 2001: The earliest published pictures of American Amaryllis I've found are in the Le Jardin du très Chrestien Henry IV of Pierre Vallet (1608). Hippeastrum puniceum is labeled as "Lilio N' indicus autumnalis flore phoeniceo", and what appears to be Brunsvigia rosea is called "Narcissus Indicus Maior Rubello flore".

DuTertre, Rochefort and others were late comers in describing the Red Lily, since two species were already known in France by 1603. It is also clear that Aldinus (1625) was not the first to use the name Lilionarcissus, here abbreviated as Lilio N', for the American plant.


9 Jan 2001: I previously suggested that Philip Miller's discussion of the Amaryllis species in his Figures of Beautiful Plants was so confusing that even an English speaking person could be misled. Sure enough! Thomas Green published a Universal Herbal in 1820 (2nd ed. 1824) in which the deep purple Italian "Narcissus Belladonna" was identified as Amaryllis Reginae and "Mexican Lily". The plate was copied from Miller's t. 24.
6 Jan 2001: I just noticed that Candolle (Redouté's Les Liliacées) wrote that P. Miller gave the name Amaryllis Belladonna to the Cape plant, which is incorrect. Candolle then cited t. 23 (American Belladonna) for A. belladonna, which is correct but not what he meant to do. What a mess! I already knew that he hadn't bothered to check Hort. Farn. (1625) for himself. Now I know that he didn't pay much attention to Miller's Figures ([1755]-1760) or Dictionary (1768), either.
9 Dec 2000: Sessé y Mociña described Amaryllis biflora, which appears to be Hippeastrum puniceum. They reported the common name as "Amapola" [poppy]. In 1936, Agustin Stahl, Estudios Sobre la Flora de Puerto Rico, also gave Amapola as the common name for Amaryllis equestris. Hill had previously assigned the name A. biflora to the Jamaica Amaryllis, also Hippeastrum puniceum. Thus, the earliest valid name for the species—aside from Amaryllis Belladonna L.—is A. biflora Hill.

As the name biflorum appears not to have been used in the genus Hippeastrum, the name for the wide-spread species would become H. biflorum (Hill), even though some strains of the species have 4 or more flowers.

Sessé y Mociña also described A. regina which may have been the Cape Belladonna. It had seven flowers, more or less (subseptemflora), and in color "petala albo-fusca, tribus rubris". Taking "fusco" in the literal sense of "purpura", the flowers would be pink and red.

The Sessé expedition was mostly in the year 1795, though the report was not published until late in the 19th century. There is nothing improbable about Cape Belladonnas being introduced to Mexico before 1795, or even having become naturalized in suitable areas.


11 Oct 2000: I sent an email to the International Plant Name Index (www.ipni.org) to report that:
Amaryllis biflora was described by Dr. John Hill in his Vegetable System, vol. 26, 1774. It was said to be native of Antigua and other parts of the West Indies. He gave 'Jamaica Amaryllis' as the common name, and distinguished it from other species by "the Style and Filaments ascend".
Dr. K. N. Gandhi replied:

Thanks.
I saw the name in vol. 25, p. 3. The common name on this page is: 2-flowered Amaryllis.
The above name is validly published and renders illegitimacy to A. biflora Sesse & Moc. 1894.


15 Sept 2000: The Portuguese word amarela refers to a gold coin. If this usage can be traced back to the 18th century, then Amarilla or Amarellas might be construed as "Gold Coin Lily".

Since writing the note of 18 Dec 1999 I have learned that the phrase "non absimili" was a reasonably common construction—common enough to be found in a Latin dictionary. Therefore, Ferrari did mean that the 8 flowered Diluto was less beautiful than the 20 flowered Saturo.


10 Aug 2000: I found a web page with the "Iris" and "Lily" plates from Curtis's Botanical Magazine and the descriptions. The author (G.) thanked Dr Dryander for the complete synonymy for Amaryllis belladonna (Ait. non L.), so it is interesting to see that Dryander corrected the spelling of Lilionarcissus rubeus indicus Ald. Hort. farnes. (1625), but incorrectly listed it as a synonym for the Cape Belladonna. There is also some confusion between A. vittata and a South African Crinum, which Mrs Bury mentioned later.
25 April 2000: I received an email from Unicorn Art: "Simson's Amarilla print is taken from the original watercolour belonging to the Earl of Derby's collection at Knowsley in the North of England."
Miller's Figures... was issued in 50 monthly parts from 1755 to 1760. There were not two separate editions as I had thought. Similarly, John Miller's Illustratio was published in 20 parts from 1775 to 1777, though some of the plates may have been issued separately as early as 1770. This information is from Great Flower Books 1700-1900 by Sitwell and Blunt (1956).
12 April 2000: John Simson's watercolor painting of the Amarilla is dated 1729.
22 March 2000: This has been my lucky month! —Linnaeus mentioned in Hort. Cliff. (1738) that the most beautiful of the Amaryllis species was called "Amarellas" or "Amaryllis" by gardeners. This is the species that became Amaryllis Belladonna L. in Species Plantarum (1753). John Simson painted the American Belladonna, labeling it Amarilla. If this is the John Simson who lived 1688?-1740, the problem is solved.
17 March 2000: John Hill strikes again, this time in Eden: or, a compleat body of gardening (1757). Hill cited Sloane and Hermann, then described the American Belladonna—Amaryllis Belladonna L. He continued: "The common Writers distinguish a deep purple Amaryllis, as the Belladonna Lilly, distinct from this which they call Red Lilly; but we write to guard the Student against their Errors. Linnaeus has established this Point in his Species Plantarum, Vol. 1. p. 293."
29 February 2000: In the 1752 edition of Gardeners Dictionary Philip Miller had already confused Brunsvigia orientalis (L) Heist. with the Mexican Lily (Amaryllis Belladonna L). So much for my hypothesis that Miller had been misled by Heister's statement that Merian had depicted Ferrari's plant. Interestingly, the outer tepals of the Brunsvigia do recurve at the base, as Linnaeus would later write about Amaryllis Belladonna. I'll have to check Royen (quoted by Miller) to see if there are any clues there.
24 December 1999: Pliny also used the word "ungues" to refer to the bases of petals. Regarding roses he wrote "foliorum partes quae sunt candidae ungues vocantur." (Plin. Nat. 21. 121.) — "the white parts of the petals are called claws (or fingernails)."
23 December 1999:
1) The 1771 edition of John Miller's Illustration of the Sexual System of the Genera Plantarum, seemingly quoted by Sealy, does not exist. In the 1779 edition Miller mentioned only the 1777 edition, and that is the earliest date for the work I've found. Blunt & Stearn, The Art of Botanical Illustration, also give 1777 as the publication date. I have not yet found a copy of the 1777 edition, so all I can say with certainty is that John Miller did not assign the name A. belladonna to the Cape plant in 1779. He died in 1790, and the book was reprinted in 1794 with the species identified as Amaryllis Belladonna in agreement with Hortus Kewensis (1789). [Update 25 Sept 2015: Illustration of the Sexual System of the Genera Plantarum of Linnaeus, 1757-1777, 20 Nos., £1 each, making 2 vols. imp. fol.: in Latin and English.]

2) Hill's Amaryllis Belladonna was not the Cape plant as I previously thought. He wrote "the petals ... have a bend at the base", which agrees with Linnaeus's 1762 description of the species, "...ungue reflexis".

3) Linnaeus distinguished the two American species according to whether the petals reflexed at the base (Belladonna), or not (reginae). Whether he intended to include the Cape plant in reginae has been disputed. Miller's Dictionary (1768) restricted reginae to the Cape plant; Hill (Vegetable System, 1774) apparently gave the name to an American species, excluding the Cape Belladonna.

4) Linn. fil. ignored his father's opinions. He chose the tube as the most obvious distinction between his Equestris and reginae. Therefore, Merian's Lilium Rubrum, originally included in Amaryllis Belladonna L., was transferred to Equestris L.f.; Seligmann's West Indische Rothe Lilie, similar to Hill's 1758 plate, became A. reginae L.f. This explains Sealy's sly assertion that Hill's plant was actually H. reginae Herb. True enough, but it was not A. reginae L.

5) After two years of searching, the earliest instance I can find of A. Belladonna being assigned to the Cape plant is the unpublished Linn. fil. MS of 1781-82. This agrees with Uphof's 1938 conclusion that Linn. fil. was responsible for the name changes. Linn. fil. did not cite his father as authority for the names. However, Linn. fil. was working at Kew at the time, and may have accepted the locally preferred names. I'd still like to see what Solander had to say about the species of Amaryllis.


20 December 1999: In the 1953 edition of Herbertia Mary G. Henry described Amaryllis belladonna var. barbata. The tepals are cream, deepening towards the center where it merges into the pale green heart. The reverse of the setepalsegs are sometimes stained reddish along the keel. This agrees rather well with Rottböll's Crinum biflorum, which may be the same as A. dubia Alm. However, Rottböll's plant had more color.

Note: Linn. fil. did not include Amaryllis dubia Alm under his A. equestris, which was restricted exclusively to the form painted by Merian, which has a filiform tube. The list of synonyms was extended in Hort. Kew. (1789). His A. reginae had a short nodding tube (breve tubulosis nutantibus).


18 December 1999: I suspect that Morison read Ferrari's "Non absimili forma minùs formosum..." to mean that Diluto was not unlike Saturo in form ("non absimili forma"), but was less beautiful ("minus formosum"). This would explain why he combined the two plants into a single species. It seems to me that the phrase should be read "non, absimili forma, minùs formosum" or "a different variety, no less beautiful...". (Wrong! See note 15 Sept 2000.)
I checked John Miller's Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus of 1779 (micro opaque) at UCSF. He did not assign the name Amaryllis Belladonna to the Cape plant, as Sealy claimed. He only noted that "Belladonna" was the common name for the plant, in agreement with P. Millers Dictionary of 1768, to which J. Miller contributed. Furthermore, Miller wrote in his preface that the work was first published in 1777, again contradicting Sealy who claimed to have quoted from the 1771 edition.
14 December 1999: The Tuberose of Mexico was introduced to China from the Philippines by the Spaniards during the Ming dynasty, which ended 1644. This is just further evidence of the movement of plants around the world at the time. Cobo noted that the plant I'm identifying as Sprekelia was called "Mayhua". Curiously, "May hua" is the national flower of China.
13 December 1999: I'm making progress translating the chapter on Amancaes from Bernabe Cobo's "Historia del Nuevo Mundo". One of the three red Amancaes is about the size of the plant described by Aldinus in Hortus Farnesianus, raising the possibility that it was a Peruvian plant being grown in Italy in the early 17th century. Some of the common names for the various species appear to be derived from Spanish, even though Cobo wrote that they were the names used in Quichia and Aymara.
7 December 1999: I saw a copy of the 1664 Amsterdam edition of Ferrari's work. The pictures are correct. Morison reproduced a 7-flowered copy of Ferrari's "diluto", and labeled it as such. This contradicts his statement that Ferrari duplicated "saturo" for "diluto". Perhaps Morison just got a defective copy.
4 December 1999: According to Robert Morison (Historiae Plantarum), Ferrari's "...diluto colore purpurascens" differed from his "...saturo colore purpurascens" only in color, and that Ferrari foolishly (inepte) copied the same plate for both plants. However, versions I've seen have a very different plant figured as "saturo colore purpurascens", one with about 20 flowers on the scape. This is Barrelier's "Belladonnaformos, Italicus", the "Narcissus Bella-donna" grown in large numbers around Florence, according to Philip Miller (1731).

That is to say, Morison's 8-flowered, deep-purple "saturato" is a bogus species, based on the plate of Ferrari's "diluto" and the color of Ferrari's "saturo".

Plukenet quoted Morison's phrase-name. If he also had a misprinted edition of Flora, it would have been easy for him to have assumed that the darker flowered plant was the Jacobeus of Aldinus, which Ferrari also described. Ferrari described the color as "purpura in crocum languente", which Plukenet could (and apparently did) take to mean purple with a tinge of yellow in the throat. In Ferrari's Italian edition, this phrase is replaced by "rancio" — orange.

Plukenet made yet another mistake. He listed "Narcissus ex albo rubescens. CBP. 49." as a another type (idem) of the Jacobeus (Sprekelia). This is the fourth Jacobeus I've found so far. Separately from this he listed two Zephyranthes, the pure white, and the white with pink blush. However, he called the white species "Atamusco".

He also listed "Narcissus Indicus major præcox & serotinus, Cornuti, 155." as a synonym for the Jacobeus, copying Morison's error, and adding serotinus.. It is easy to see from this collection of errors why John Ray and Hans Sloane regarded Plukenet as unreliable.


3 December 1999: Ferrari's "saturo colore purpurascens" had close to 20 flowers. The "diluto colore purpurascens" had only 8. However, Plukenet managed to confuse the 20-flowered plant with the 2-5 flowered Jacobeus of Aldinus. How did this happen? The simplest explanation is that Ferrari was just not clear. He gave multiple names for the plants he described, and did not break the descriptions into paragraphs.
9 November 1999: It has become apparent that Linnaeus used the word "ungue" to indicate the base of the tepals, rather than the tips as Sealy assumed. Thus, Hill's descriptions of Belladonna and reginae (Vegetable System, 1774) are in agreement with Linnaeus's descriptions (1762).

Belladonna-

Hill: several Flowers upon a Stalk; the petals are equal, and have a bend at the base: the whole Flower is bell-shaped: and the style and Filaments droop.

Reginae-

Linnaeus: spatha multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus ungue reflexis, genitalibus declinatis.

Hill: The stalk supports several Flowers; they are bell-shaped, equal, and waved a little at the edges; the Style and Filaments droop.

Hill described three American species: Belladonna, reginae and biflora. The last was distinguished by its ascending style and filaments. This may account for Mrs. Bury's comment on Equestris: "The degree of obliquity of the flowers and pedicles varies extremely, according to the state of expansion of the flowers, and their greater or less exposure to the influence of the sun; their angle can be no certain mark of distinction, though it has been considered one."

So who switched the names? With Mill. Dict. (1768) and Hill (1758, 1768, 1774) agreeing with Linnaeus, why did John Miller (1777) incorrectly assign the name Amaryllis Belladonna to the Cape plant?


9 September 1999: Loddiges's Botanical Cabinet has a few Amaryllis pictures worth checking. Amaryllis spectabilis Lodd. is not the same as Amaryllis spectabilis Andr., which is a Crinum. Amaryllis crocata and rutila are also in there.
31 August 1999: Added picture and text for Amaryllis brasiliensis from Henry Andrews' Botanist's Repository. It's worth noting his opinion that this plant, as well as Amaryllis equestris and reginae could be included in the same species.
25 August 1999: I received the print from Johannes Gessner's Tabulæ phytographicæ with the great picture of Amaryllis Belladonna L.
23 August 1999: In the original Latin version of Florum cultura Ferrari described the color of the 4-flowered Jacobeus as "purpura in crocum languente", which I translated as "red with light yellow". However, in the 1638 Italian version the color is simply "rancio"— orange. Apparently Ferrari meant that the red and yellow were mixed together.

If Plukenet read the text in the same way, he could have assumed that the "purpura" and the "crocum" were on different parts of the same purple and yellow flower.

Then, if he also read Rea's English translation regarding what Parkinson described, he could have imagined that he was correcting an error by shifting Aldinus's plant from Parkinson's Narcissus Jacobaeus (where it did not belong) to Ferrari's Narcissus indicus (where it also does not belong).

Plukenet apparently did not check Hort. Farn. for himself, or he might have recognized the resemblance to his own Lilio-Narcissus Indicus, s. Narcissus Liliflorus aureus striis, argenteis pictus, floribus amplis cernuis gemellis, caule magno Cepæ fistuloso, which was also orange (gold) and striped.


22 August 1999: Clusius (1601?) described a Sprekelia, which his friend Simon Tovar thought looked like the sword/cross emblem of the St. Jacob Knights. Aldinus (1625) described a 4-flowered (more or less) Jacobeus (Hippeastrum) which had a different appearance, but was perhaps a better match for the emblem.

Ferrari (1633) also described the the 4-flowered Jacobeus. In the English translation (1665) John Rea commented that this was the Red Daffodil described by Mr. Parkinson.

I checked Parkinson's Paradisi (1629). In fact he described a Sprekelia (with greyish leaves), but incorrectly associated it with Aldinus.

Meanwhile, Parkinson also described a Narcissus Trapezunticus, received from Constantinople, which he grouped with the Jacobeus because both had irregular flowers. Robert Morison (Plantarum historiae universalis Oxoniensis, 1680-99) copied this figure, but labeled it Narcissus Jacobeus. This appears to be the same plant Gerard (1633) also identified as Narcissus Jacobeus.


14 August 1999: The Amaryllis capensis of Miller's 1768 Dictionary has bothered me because in general he accepted the names given by Linnaeus in Species Plantarum. I think I found the answer.

L'Héritier listed Lilio-asphodelus capensis Pet. gaz. under his Amaryllis Belladonna (non L). Apparently Miller recognized that the new plant matched Petiver's description of a genuine Cape plant. At that time the Belladonna lily (so called) was believed to be American.


13 August 1999: More goodies. Johann Gessner's botanical table shows the red & yellow American Amaryllis along with other species described in Species Plantarum. Also, Denisse painted "Le Trompette", which matches Hill's plate very nicely.
11 August 1999: John Miller (Johann Müller) reportedly did the illustrations for Lord Bute's botanical work. I've been concerned that Bute might have been responsible for reversing Belladonna and reginae as he was connected with both J. Miller and Hill. It turns out that Bute's 9 volumes of botanical tables came out in "1785?", according to the British library. J. Miller's An illustration of the sexual system of Linnaeus was reportedly first published in 1777, though I have not been able to locate any edition before 1779. Even so, Miller was not influenced by Bute's publication. This leaves Hill's Vegetable System (1774) as the earliest use of Amaryllis Belladonna as the name for the Cape plant I have yet found. This is particularly relevant since Hill knew which plant Linnaeus had described, but preferred to ignore Linnaeus's chosen name.

Ferrari's famous book was translated from Latin to English by John Rea. It was published in 1665, 1676 and 1702, which raises the possibility that some writers were referring to the translation rather than to the original. (15 Mar 2000: Rea's work was original, though he quoted much from Ferrari and others.)


6 August 1999: In 1754, Philip Miller identified the Mexican lily by Royen's name for Amaryllis orientalis (L) Heister. This has puzzled me for months. Today I recalled that in 1753 Heister made the remarkable statement that Merian had painted Ferrari's plant. However, the plant in question was the Brunsvigia, and the painter was probably Matthäus Merian — father of Maria Sibylla. This may also explain Herbert's apparent belief that Maria Merian was alluding to Ferrari's Cape plant while painting the American Belladonna. (Herbert must have been kidding.)
5 August 1999: Herbert's 1839 discussion of why Linnaeus could not have named the American plant Belladonna is so wildly fanciful — and wrong — that I can only assume he wanted to be found out. Almost everything is wrong, and too easily checked.
23 July 1999: Amaryllis were received in England by the box or barrelful. Apparently they were a byproduct of the diamond trade. Thus, the sources of the various imported forms likely corresponded to the diamond districts.
"When diamonds were discovered by alluvial gold miners in Brazil in 1725, Indian diamond sources were near exhaustion and European demand for the stone continued unabated. From 1730 to 1870 Brazil was the world's major source of diamonds. Indeed, mining in Brazil was so active that by the late 1730s production far exceeded demand, and diamond prices fell by as much as 70%. Beginning in 1850, production rose again, following the discovery of rich deposits in Bahia, but after 1861 it rapidly declined as deposits were depleted, leading to a great shortage of rough diamonds in the European cutting centers in the late 1860s."
Source — http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/diamonds/brazil.html
21 July 1999: Ludovico Bertonio published his Arte y Gramatica muy Copiosa de la Lengua Aymara and Arte Breve de la Lengua Aymara in 1603, and his Vocabulario de la lengua aymare in 1613 — in Rome. So we know that the Italians were receiving information from the Peru/Bolivia region at that time.

Note: There is a Jarajorechi Hotel in Beni, Bolivia.


19 July 1999: Ira S. Nelson wrote in the 1955 Herbertia:
"The Aymara Indians call the Amaryllis 'horra-ho-ray-chee.' [Jarajorechi] This of course is the phonetic spelling. I was told that before the days of modern cosmetics the bolivian girls would rub the juice of the bulbs on their cheeks to give them color. For one night their complexion would glow with radiant beauty. In the several days that followed, however, they would have to remain out of sight of their lovers because their cheeks would be drawn, cracked and as rough and ugly as they had been glamorous on the night the juice was applied. One of the older women summed it up by saying 'thank God for Max Factor'."
It's is looking like "Belladonna" may have been a translation of the native American name.

John Lindley left another clue for me in his Vegetable Kingdom (1830). He wrote that the Amaryllidaceae

"is one of the few monocotyledonous Orders in which poisonous properties occur. They are principally apparent in the viscid juice of the bulbs of Haemanthus toxicarius and some neighbouring species, in which the Hottentots are said to dip their arrow-heads, and Amaryllis Belladonna, which is said to be employed for poisoning in the West Indies, (Endl.); but this is no doubt a mistake, and the statement applies to some other bulbs of the Order—for the Belladonna is a Cape plant; probably a Hippeastra, which Martius tells us have poisonous bulbs."
Endlicher is another source to check, as is Martius.
21 June 1999: I'm surprised to find that Ferrari (1633) described a Hippeastrum, the same one described by Aldini. However, his phrase-name is so similar to that used by Clusius it is easily confused. But the fact that the spathe splits in two, and the "thyrsus" divides into 4 parts, should be enough confirmation. He notes that the flower is "purpura" and light yellow, and blooms at the end of May, or in June.
25 May 1999: Les Hannibal pointed out, long ago, that when Linnaeus wrote Hort. Cliff. he thought that Crinums should have capitate (trifidum minimum) stigmas, while Amaryllis had trifid (trifidum, tenue). We can hardly doubt that the plant described by Dicks (1771) is the one painted by Ehret in the early 1740s. It is also a passably close match for Hill's plant (1758). The difference between yellowish-white and greenish-white may involve regional differences among the wild-collected plants. So, if there is a "true" Amaryllis Belladonna L., this must be it. Apparently Merian's plant, though superficially similar, was excluded by Alm because of the capitate stigma. Hermann's, however, may be more closely allied to Amaryllis fulgida or A. equestriformis. In the 17th century "West Indies" included all of the New World, and the boundary between Surinam and Brazil was rather vague.

It also occurred to me that in 1731 P. Miller described the Portuguese Belladonna as having fewer, larger, paler flowers than the Italian Belladonna. Later, without comment, the Portuguese Belladonna became the multiflowered plant painted by Ehret. Apparently this plant performed much better in the ground than in a pot. But this raises the question: what was the deep-purple Italian Belladonna? It also suggests that the "Incarnatus" of Hort. Nitid. was not the Portuguese Belladonna described in 1731.


21 May 1999: At Stanford I found Tjaden's article (Amaryllis Belladonna and the Guernsey lily: an overlooked clue. Jour. Soc. Bibliphy nat. Hist. 9(3): 251-256. 1979) in which he discusses the catalog of sources cited in Hort. Cliff., and the entry indicating that Linnaeus at one time intended for the Guernsey Lily to be the second item in the list of species rather than the first. This suggests, though does not prove, that the Guernsey Lily was the plant called Amarella or Amaryllis in gardens. [Note, 11 Feb 2001. However, in his publication Lilium Sarniensis Douglas discussed the plant described by Aldinus, which some of Douglas's contemporaries had confused with the Guernsey lily. Thus, Bradley's book is a valid citation for the Amaryllis belladonna of Linnaeus.]

Tjaden also mentioned that Patrick Browne (Civil and Natural History of Jamaica, 1756) identified his Amaryllis Flore croce nutante scapo nudo unifloro with Linnaeus's phrase-name, which was also cited by Fusée Aublet (Histoire des plantes de la Guiane Francoise, 1775).

In a Taxon article I learned that the only known portrait of Philip Miller is actually a self-portrait of the artist John Miller. Suggestion that there may be nomenclatural confusion regarding the two Miller's. Also, Lord Bute's book of botanical tables was published 1785.


18 May 1999: "It is to me inconceivable that a genus proposed by one author should be interpreted by others with every original species excluded." E.D. Merrill An Interpretation of Rumphius's Herbarium Amboinense (1917).
17 May 1999: Another great day at Berkeley. At the Environmental Design Library I found The New Gardener's Dictionary (1771) by John Dicks. Not only did he agree that Linnaeus's plant is the American Amaryllis, he described the large yellow circle in the center, trifid stigma, and the fact that the plants were received from America "in abundance".

Second stop, Bancroft. Vol. 8 of Redoute's Les Liliacées has the Belladonna matter tied up neatly. L'Héritier's Amaryllis Belladonna is not the same as Linnaeus's. Unfortunately, Alire Raffeneau-Delile included Lilionarcissus rubeus indicus with the Cape Belladonnas. Those guys just could not accept that Italians were growing American Amaryllis before 1625.

Finally, to the BioScience Library. Copied the Corn. Canad. plate Linnaeus cited under Amaryllis capensis, found info about Rumpf's Herbarium and Tulipa Javana.


14 May 1999: Apparently Linnaeus was not a well man as early as 1748. "1748 — Linnaeus. Signs of psychic depression. During the last three decades of his life, Linnaeus suffered periods of moodiness and genuine depression, nervous restlessness and irritability, fear of death and the wish to retreat from everything. In 1748 he began to think that the world was conspiring against him. He may have suffered from manic-depression along with schizoid characteristics. In the last years of his life, the picture of his personality is completely dominated by symptoms of progressive hardening of the arteries of the brain." This may account for his cutting Carl Jr. out of the will.

"Swedish Order of the North Star breast star. A very fine example comprising an eight pointed cut silver with silver ball to each tip; between the arms, rays. Mounted to the centre of the cross, a silver five pointed star. Stout pin to reverse. (200 - 250) Founded by King Frederick I on 28th April 1748. Also known as the Order of the Polar Star." This is the closest match for the "Knight's Star" I've found. "The Equestrian Order of the Sepulcher of Jerusalem" is red, but otherwise not even close.


11 May 1999: Les Hannibal suggests that the "triflora" Amaryllis is Crinum bulbispermum syn. C. longifolium and C. riparium. He wrote that they bloom in June-July for him, and have 3-10 flowers. Furthermore, the "Rubra Bicolour" has folliage like "Major", but about 60% the size.
5 May 1999: The "triflora" Amaryllis was also described in the 1759 edition. In that same edition Miller described Fragaria ananassa for the first time - a plant he had received from George Clifford. So we know that they were still exchanging plants in the late 1750s. (Clifford died 1760).
2 May 1999: Amaryllis capensis was described by Linnaeus as "spatha uniflora remotissima, corolla aequali, staminibus pistilloque rectis". However, in the Gardeners Dictionary of 1768, the name is given to a different plant, "spathâ triflorâ corollis campanulatis æqualibus genitalibus declinatis". According to the English description,
"The flowers are as large as those of the Belladonna Lily, and are of the same form, growing erect, but of a deeper red colour."
I don't want to jump to conclusions, but this is a reasonable description of the Rubra Bicolour Cape Belladonna, which Les Hannibal has identified with the Blank Specimen in the Clifford Herbarium. If the Clifford specimen is Miller's A. capensis, then it could not have been known to Linnaeus before 1738, and could not be the "working type" for Amaryllis Belladonna.
28 Apr 1999: Brent Dickerson emailed the translation of De Candolle's comment on Amaryllis equestre: "This plant has long been confused with Amaryllis belladonna; it indeed appears that this species which we are describing now is the one which should be allotted the nickname 'Belladonna,' which was first assigned to another plant, and which is retained out of respect for the received nomenclature." That is, he had no illusion that Linnaeus gave the name Amaryllis Belladonna to the Cape plant.
23 Apr 1999: Redouté's Les Liliacées is beautiful! Got the descriptions copied for Amaryllis brasiliensis, A. reginae and A. equestris. I'll have to go back for A. pallida, A. Belladonna.

John Miller (Johann Müller) An illustration of the sexual system of Linnaeus gave Amaryllis Belladonna as the name for the Cape plant in 1779. Presumably also in the 1777 edition. Therefore I cannot blame Linné Jr. for the name change.


18 Apr 1999: If Redoute's Amaryllis reginae is the genuine Lilium Reginae Douglass, then the other Reginae, Redoute's A. brasiliensis, must have been a new introduction. What would it have been called?

Suppose Mr. Johnson actually claimed to have used pollen of "Jacobaeus" in the production of his hybrid, but some helpful person changed this to "Formosissima" in the interest of clarity. But there were two "Narcissus Jacobaeus" described in the 17th century; by Clusius, and by Aldini. Barrelier (pub. 1714) listed these as:

Lilio-Narcissus Iacobaeus, phoeniceus, Indicus, polyanthos (Aldini's), and
Lilio-Narcisus Indicus, rebeus, monoanthos, Jacobaeus Clusii

It appears that Barrelier regarded Aldini's plant to be the original "Jacobaeus" to be distinguished from "Jacobaeus Clusii". Therefore, it might have seemed reasonable to call the new Brazilian Amaryllis "Jacobaeus" since it was neither the West Indies Red Lily, nor the Cape Belladonna, nor the Lilium Reginae of Douglass. L'Heritier mentioned Aldini's plant (and Barrelier's name for it) as synonyms for Amaryllis Belladonna in his Sertum Anglicum, so the old plant had not been forgotten.


17 Apr 1999: Went to Berkeley: Redoute's Amaryllis reginae is not the plant painted by Bury, and described by Herbert. This explains Herbert's concern that a Mexican plant should also be found in Brazil - he had the wrong plant! It also explains why P. Miller could insist that Hermann's Bella Donna was really the Mexican Lily (Lilium Reginae Douglass). One of the flowers on Hermann's plate is too symmetrical, lacking the "swoop" of Merian's.

Redoute also painted Amaryllis pallida - which is apparently the plant Miller received from Royen in 1754, and which gave rise to the myth of the spring blooming Cape Belladonna. Redoute painted the plant in August!


15 Apr 1999: Redoute's Amaryllis bresiliensis is supposed to be A. reginae, but it appears to have a trifid stigma. Mrs. Bury's A. reginae, which she claimed was the Lilium Reginae of Douglass, is strikingly similar to Redoute's plant, though I can't tell about the stigmas. Certainly these paintings do not agree with the "West Indische rothe Lilie" of Ehret/Seligmann, which Linne Jr. cited for A. reginae.
13 Apr 1999: L'Heritier referred both reginae and Belladonna to t.23 of Miller's 1760 edition of Figures..., but cited p. 15 (text Plate XXIII) to Belladonna, p. 16 (text Plate XXIV) to reginae. It looks like this was the start of a new confusion: it was L'Heritier's Amaryllis Belladonna that mixed the Cape and American plants, not Linnaeus's. Ie., Amaryllis Belladonna L. = A. reginae L'Herit. The confusion involved Amaryllis reginae L. = A. belladonna L'Herit (approximately)
12 Apr 1999: Mrs. Bury's description of Amaryllis reginae was quoted from Prof. Martyn's edition of Miller's Dictionary of 1768. She neglected to mention that Martyn was describing Amaryllis Belladonna. [2/6/2008: Martyn's edition was published in 1785. Miller was still alive and working in 1768.}

Furthermore, she inserted a passage from Mantissa Plantarum smack in the middle of the Martyn paraphrase: "the three outer petals reversed at the tip, the three inner fringed at the base; the style red". This translates Linnaeus's "Petala 3 exteriora intus apice ungue reverso. Petala 3 interiora basi ciliata. Stamina declinata, rubra", from his description of Amaryllis Belladonna. Sealy claimed this referred to the Cape Belladonna (which does not have beard pads). Mrs. Bury and I disagree.


2 Apr 1999: Received the reprint of Sertum Anglicum. In 1788, L'Heritier corresponded with Dryander - who was working on the text of Hortus Kewensis. I'm thinking more and more that Uphof was right about Linne Jr. being responsible for the name confusion. L'Heritier did not claim that he was following Linnaeus's usage: he did not append "L." to the names of Belladonna and reginae, but did for Amaryllis formosissima L. Also, he did not cite SP2 or Miller's Dictionary of 1768 for Belladonna or reginae, though he did for other species. Also, he copied Plukenet's error (and spelling): including Lilionarcissus rubens [rubeus] indicus with the Cape Belladonna.
17 Mar 1999: Went to Berkeley. Found Vellozo's Florae Fluminensis with a figure of Amaryllis Bella-dona; Ruiz & Pavon's Flora Peruviana, et chilensis - describing A. miniata as akin to Belladonna. Feuillée described three American Hemerocallis: two Alstroemerias and a Bomaria. Also some Zephs. Florae Lusitanicae et Brasiliensis has A. Bella donna listed as exotic (rather than Brazilian) but no description. Also, A. lutea. A. formosissima (listed as Brazilian). "Amaryllis scapis ex umbella foliacea multifloris, corollis campanulatis, inaequalibus, foliis oblongo-acuminatis, petiolis spiraliter flexis: caule volubili, B. Obs. Petala 3 interiora unguibus medio co-arctata: apicibus multifido-crenatis."
4 Feb 1999: DuTertre compared the stigma of the Red Lily to that of the tulip. Capitate!
3 Feb 1999: In the German translation of Metamorphosis, Merian stated that she brought back a few bulbs of the Red Lily - presumably from Surinam. She then noted, in a separate sentence, that they had the plant in the garden of Holland (Leyden?).
14 Jan 1999: I woke up this morning around 4:30 am muttering "Ehret and Plukenet. Ehret and Plukenet." I didn't have time to think it through until after 4:00 pm. Then I realized that Ehret's paintings prove that he was influenced by Plukenet rather than Linnaeus.
22 Dec 1998: I finally have a copy of Castelli's picture of Lilionarcissus rubeus indicus. It is obviously an American Amaryllis, and not a Cape Belladonna as Plukenet claimed. Plukenet misspelled the name "rubens".
30 Oct 1998: The Belladonna Lily of Portugal had 3-4 flowers and was called Lilio-narcissus indicus flore incarnato etc odorato. This may be the Incarnato of Hort. Nitid.
28 Oct 1998: Found Gardeners Dictionary 1724 at Environmental Design Library at Berkeley. Narcissus of Japan.

Found Hermann's Prodromus, included with Tournefort's Schola Botanica. Sloane's History, DuTertre's Histoire des Antilles. In Hort. Nitidissimis the Red Lily is called Amaryllis Mexicana dicta, though this does not appear to be intended as a Linnaean binomial (Amaryllis, called "Mexican").


22 Oct 1998: The English calendar changed in 1752. 2 Sept 1752 was followed by 14 Sept. The first of the year was moved to 1 Jan: it had been 25 Mar. So, the odd date of the letter from Collinson to Trew is explained. It was 1745 in England, but already 1746 in Germany.
16 Oct 1998: Rochefort's Lys jaunes, ou oranges. This was pre-Tournefort, so not even Lilio-narcissus was described. No doubt in my mind that he was referring to Hemerocallis flava and fulva.
28 Aug 1998: Species Plantarum 2 (1762). Copied descriptions.
Willdenow's Species Plantarum 4 (1797). What a mess! Linnaeus's references for Amaryllis Belladonna are split between A. Belladonna and A. equestris, but it has the Hort. Kew. description for A. Belladonna, which is of the Cape Belladonna.