Herbertia pp. 100-102, 146 (1942)
Abstract: Article on Callicore-Brunsvigia Hybrids
L. S. Hannibal

*The nomenclature adopted by the American Amaryllis Society, and by Standardized Plant Names, 1941, is used in this article with synonyms given in parentheses. However, it should be noted that, as indicated in the following article, Callicore rosea Link may shortly be superseded by transferring it to the genus Brunsvigia where it apparently rightly belongs. As will be recalled A. belladonna Linn., was proven to be the former Hippeastrum equestre Aiton.

The writer of an article in Gardeners’ Chronicle [Amaryllis Blanda And Its Allied Varieties And Hybrids, Brunsdonna Ex Parte. Gardeners’ Chronicle: Vol. 84, P. 349 (1928) With Fig of Rubra Maj.], who chose to remain anonymous, stated that Dean Herbert considered the genus which we now know as Callicore* as not monotypic, and that it included some species of Brunsvigia such as B. Josephinae. His opinion receives support from the fact that five or more hybridists have succeeded in crossing Callicore with Brunsvigia spp. (R.H.S. 1926. p. 65) as these garden hybrid "Brunsdonnas" occur with such ease it is only logical that wild crosses have occurred in the natural habitat of these plants. It is apparent that collectors at times have gathered these hybrids, along with back crosses of these hybrids, both of which often resemble the original Callicore blanda (syn. A. blanda, Bot. Mag., t. 1450, 1812).

Blanda, being tender, disappeared during Herbert's time, but it often reappeared later as seedling segregates from several possible sources, one being mentioned in Paxton's Mag. 1882. A similar clone, pseudo-Blanda, which received a R.H.S. Award of Merit September 11, 1928, can be traced to an original Parkeri hybrid distributed by Mrs. Arbuckle in 1889 (R.H.S. Journal (1926), p. 67). Various other forms of Blanda have been noted among bulbs imported from the Cape. In general the Blanda forms, as distinguished from the type of the Cape Belladonna, have wider, more substantial leaves and late flowering, tubular-shaped blossoms of very pale self color when they first expand, but on the third or fourth day the perianths become entirely pink.

An allied form, Callicore rosea var. rubra, (syn. A. rubra major, of J. E. Elwes, see plate in article cited above) was considered to be a similar hybrid by Wm. Watson. It is only partly deciduous and bears a pronounced pseudo-leaf-stem 6" to 8" long. Fortunately it is very free flowering and quite hardy. The blossoms, which are crimson with a yellow base, are long lasting, and recurved only slightly. A typical Brunsvigia characteristic is the elongation of the pedicels to 7" or 8" as the fruits set, which is not quite so characteristic of Blanda. Many of the seedling crosses resulting from either of these original hybrid forms are of unusual merit, being very large, robust plants that flower quite freely with umbels far superior to the type of the Cape Belladonna; however, a number of seedlings revert to the original type and can be considered of no special value.

In reviewing this article two things are apparent: first the writer implies that he does not regard Brunsdonna hybrids as bigeneric without definitely stating it, and secondly, no mention is made of hybrid progeny reverting to the Brunsvigia type. From some personal experience with Blanda forms it is apparent that Cape Belladonna genes are dominant in many of their characteristics, and that typical Brunsvigia forms seldom occur. "Brunsdonnas" can usually be recognized by one or more of the following characteristics: tenderness to frost, pseudo-neck to bulb, lingulate leaves, tubular flowers, circular umbel, strong orange to yellow base or eye in the blossom's trumpet, or marked elongation of the pedicels as the fruit matures.

Callicore and Brunsvigia
L. S. Hannibal

Callicore rosea Link (syn. Amaryllis belladonna Herbert non Linn.) may prove to be a Brunsvigia. Apparently 95% of the hybrids (Brunsdonnas) with B. Josephinae Redoute (B. Gigantea Van Marum), or B. gigantea Heist (B. orientalis Linn. or B. multiflora Aiton) readily set seeds. Normally we would expect sterile bigeneric hybrids, such as the Crinodonna F1 crosses, but as the plants in question are not sterile it appears that they may belong to the same genus. If a new name is given it should apparently be Brunsvigia rosea (Lamarck) since Lamarck's description of Amaryllis rosea in the Dict. Enc. dr. Bot. of 1789 long predates Link's Callicore rosea, which is the same plant.

The work of Cowlishaw (Herbertia, vol. 2, p. 46) on his multiflora hybrids and the interesting observations (See Abstract above) on Parkeri and Blanda forms (Gard. Chron. 84, 1928. p. 349) only tend to substantiate these views. Chromosome studies should help to clear up this problem if any doubt exists.

*The longer pedicels always appear on the red scape forms. Those
on green scape forms are seldom more than 5" or 6" long.

The present major distinction between Callicore and Brunsvigia is that the seeds in the case of the former are practically sessile, while in Brunsvigia they are stalked. However, in Brunsvigia x Callicore hybrids, as might be expected, quite a variation in length of placentae can be observed, even in a single ovary. Stalks up to 5 mm. in length are not unusual. In general, depending on the clones examined, those having the longer pedicels when the fruit ripen show less tendency for the seeds to be sessile, which suggests possibly that elongated placentae in Brunsvigia are associated with pronounced length of the pedicels*, and the seeds instead of being few in number, are densely packed almost like Pomegranate seeds, with 75 or more to a capsule, and surprisingly enough some of the seeds in this crowded aggregation were definitely stalked. Also the length of the pedicel was distinctly correlated with the number of seeds in the capsule—few seeds, a short pedicel; many seeds, a pedicel 7" to 8" long with up to 20% of the seeds in some capsules being stalked as in Brunsvigia.

This observation may not prove that Callicore is a Brunsvigia, but it does indicate that previous classifications may be at fault. Incidentally it does clear up a puzzling problem for breeders. A few years back the U.S.D.A. carried out some long period corn inbreeding experiments. The ears finally obtained had few grains of no apparent value, but if two weak inbred strains of corn were crossed, the resulting hybrids were some of the most productive ever obtained. This applies definitely to Callicore. The California common form, widely distributed, is obviously an inbred strain resulting from many years of pure line breeding—few variations appear, although the plants are often self sown in many localities. Other similar forms are also available. All produce very few seed, but as indicated, if any of these strains are crossed they are very productive, and, as one may expect, quite variable in types of flowers produced. Some excellent new colors and forms can always be anticipated, and in numerous cases Blanda and Brunsvigia types are apparently present. Unquestionably certain Callicore genes are dominant, but the writer suspects that few Callicore, even those from the wild, are apparently entirely homozygous—some Brunsvigia genes being present which turn up as recessives in the progeny.

We must realize that a genus is to some extent an arbitrary grouping for convenience, but there is hardly sufficient reason for a generic division between Brunsvigia and Callicore especially when fertile hybrids are so readily produced; even Dean Herbert (1825) argued in this fashion, and reinforced his statements with experimental evidence. Why he did not follow his arguments to the logical conclusion we do not know. If the reasons advanced in this present article are adequate then it might be advisable to unite Brunsvigia and Callicore. The original brunsvigias could constitute one Subgenus and the callicores another. The following new grouping is proposed:


Subgenus No 1: Eubrunsvigia (to accommodate all spp. except the ones newly added).

Subgenus No. 2: Callicore Link (to accommodate the following proposed spp.)

  1. B. rosea (Lamarck) Hannibal, comb. nov.; Syn. Amaryllis rosea Lamarck. Dict. Encyc. dr. Bot. Vol. 1, p. 122, (1789); Amaryllis belladonna Herbert non Linn, Bot. mag. 19, t. 733. (1804); Callicore rosea Link. Handb. erkennen Nutzb. etc. p. 193. (1829).
  2. B. blanda (Gawler) Hannibal, comb. nov.; Syn. Amaryllis blanda Gawl: Bot. Mag., t. 1450 (1812); A. belladonna var. blanda Baker.