Herbertia 3: 106-108. (1936)
History of Hippecoris Garfieldii
Robert T. Van Tress
Horticulturist, Garfield Park Conservatory Chicago, IL

Hippecoris Garfieldii is the result of a cross I made in 1932 at the Garfield Park Conservatory between a red Hippeastrum hybrid and Lycoris aurea. The object in view was to create a hardier form of the amaryllis since Lycoris may be grown outside as far north as Ohio. This cross was made reciprocally and seedlings of both crosses started to bloom 19 months from date of sowing.

A complete record was kept during their second blooming season on all the flowers produced by these bulbs—number of scapes produced, numbers of flowers in an umbel, duration of blooming period, height of flower, color, and size. The Fischer Color Chart, approved by the American Amaryllis Society was used in determining the colors. From 68 bulbs of Hippeastrum vittatum hybrid* x Lycoris aurea 40 or 59% produced 3 or more flower-scapes with an average of 4 flowers each at an average height of 30.5 inches. There were 7 bulbs that produced 4 scapes each, resulting in a total of 16 flowers per plant. These blooming periods came at fairly regular intervals—namely during January, February, July and August. However, there were some flowers visible from December 8th until the first part of September with the exception of a few weeks in April. The colors varied from lighter orange red through light orange red to dark orange red. The dominance of the pistillate parent (a red amaryllis) was indicated by the size, color and kind of seed produced.

50 bulbs of Lycoris aurea* x Hippeastrum vittatum hybrid produced only 14% with 3 flower-scapes, the average number of flowers being only 3 and the average height 28 inches. These plants were uniformly less vigorous and flowers much lighter in color varying from orange to light orange red and being smaller in size. The dominance of Lycoris aurea was apparent in the color and size but none of the botanical characters such as round seeds which seems unusual.

Seedling #30 of the Hippeastrum vittatum hybrid x Lycoris aurea was selected as the type plant, being the most perfect in shape and a clear orange red with a little pale orange at the throat. It bloomed first from January 10th to 23rd with 4 flowers; January 31st to February 10th it produced 4 flowers; June 15th to 23rd with 3 flowers, and September 1st to 10th with 4 more. (These dates show the day from which the first flower was fully opened until last flower showed indications of wilting.)

I selected 11 more bulbs of this cross which met the standards set by the type plant and 13 more differing only in having more of the pale orange at the throat. Only offsets from these bulbs will be disseminated as the new bigeneric hybrid Hippecoris Garfieldii.

Mr. August Koch, Chief Horticulturist of the Chicago Park District, thinks the chief value of the new hybrid is in establishing a break in the amaryllis which should prove of value in future hybridizing. The free blooming habit is the chief characteristic since they were in bloom nearly continuously for 8 months. The vigorous habit, upright foliage and vitality of the plant is noteworthy. However outdoor trials will be necessary before its value can be established. Due to its better facilities for carrying out these trials the American Amaryllis Society was selected and given full authority to disseminate when sufficient bulbs are available.

*Seed parent is given first, followed by pollen parent.

Field Museum News, 6(3): 3 (Mar 1935)

New Hybrid Plant Received

Field Museum has received, through Robert Van Tress, of the Garfield Park Conservatory, material of a handsome new plant developed recently by hybridization in the conservatory. The new hybrid, which has been named Hippecoris Garfieldiana, is the result of crossing the amaryllis (Hippeastrum) with a closely related genus, Lycoris. The very large flowers, much like those of amaryllis, are strikingly handsome because of their shape and red color.

Lycoris aurea is unlikely to have survived outdoors in Ohio. It is probable that another yellow flowered species was involved, such as L. "sperryi".

Caldwell (1962)
In brief, the history is that in 1925 a Nashville woman, the late Mrs. Henry Sperry, collected bulbs of what she called an "orange spiderlily" in the hills near Huchow, China, while visiting her daughter, a Methodist missionary stationed there. Mrs. Sperry brought them home, and for more than 30 years they grew and were treasured just as pretty flowers by her family and a few friends. No one knew that they were lycorises. In 1957 they were called to my attention, and I felt at once that here was something unusual. One of the greatest thrills in years of gardening came in August, 1958, when I saw a clump with four fine scapes in bloom in the Nashville garden of Miss Aileen Bishop.