High points of my research into history of the nomenclature of
19 May 2010: Reviewing this chronicle to check for bad links, I found that Joseph Banks also mentioned Amarillis mexicana in his Endeavour log.
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
Cliff."; "Tulipa javana
and "Belledame". Burman
, who edited Rumph's
(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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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 (-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
speciesaside from Amaryllis Belladonna L.is A.
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
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
Dr. K. N. Gandhi replied:
I saw the name in vol. 25, p. 3. The common name on this page is:
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 constructioncommon 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
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 BelladonnaAmaryllis 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
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
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
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).
Linnaeus: spatha multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus ungue reflexis,
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.
Linnaeus: spatha multiflora, corollis campanulatis aequalibus ungue reflexis,
Differt ab A. Belladonna marginibus petalorum
undulatis, nec ad ungues recurvatis.
Hill: The stalk supports several Flowers; they are bell-shaped, equal, and
waved a little at the edges; the Style and Filaments droop.
resemble the Bella Donna extremely; but there is an absolute and fixed
difference: the Petals in this are waved at the edge, and strait at
the base; whereas the Petals of the Bella Donna have a bend at the
base, and are strait at the edges
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
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
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)
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
"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
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.
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
brasiliensis, must have been a new introduction. What would it have been
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),
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
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
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
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.