More Amaryllis hybrids

Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 23:54:39 +1000
From: Jim Lykos <
Subject: Re: Amaryllis — Amarygia Breeding

Hi Karl and all Amaryllis admirers,

I've read your articles on plant genetics and breeding with great interest, and despite some genetics theory training in my Biochemistry degree — I'm stumped by some unexpected results in trying to create Amarygia's using Brunsvigia josephinea with a number of the Australian Amaryllis x multiflora hybrid varieties and Amaryllis 'Enchantment'. The seed resulting from a series of crosses each way has indicated to me that Amaryllid genetics are undoubtedly more complex than I thought. My assumption is that white Amaryllis seed will produce hybrid white flowering bulbs and the rose-dark red seed will produce hybrids with varying shades of pink-red flowers. I also expected to more robust seed growth from the Amaryllis x Brunsvigia than the reverse cross. I'll briefly summarise the outcomes of some of the crosses:

1. Amaryllis x multiflora 'Rosea' X B. josephinea = many small transparent white seed which do germinate strongly despite being about 1/6 to 1/8th the volume of a normal Amaryllis seed — sometimes with two to three natural sized seed but outnumbered by many (up to 60) pure small transparent seed — same result with around 10 fruits on 4 different bulbs
2. Amaryllis x multiflora 'alba' X B. josephinea = lightly pinkish seed about 1/2 size of normal Amaryllis occasionally a few small white seeds amongst the pink.
3. Amaryllis x multiflora 'Center pink Stripe var' X B. josephinea = many small transparent white seed as per 1.
4. Amaryllis 'Enchantment' X B. josephinea = all seed were a little larger than natural size and very green in colour — occasionally one to two light pink or white seed.

The Amaryllis that I have labeled as 'alba' is a white flowered seedling of 'Hathor' sold commercially as 'Hathor'. The reverse crosses with Brunsvigia josephinea as the seed parent with various colour forms of Amaryllis x multiflora also had one baffling result:

5. Brunsvigia josephinea x Amaryllis x multiflora (all varieties) resulted in seed with green-bronze to green-maroon colours the normal colour of Brunsvigia josephinea seed.
6. Brunsvigia josephinea x Amaryllis 'Enchantment' resulted in mainly greenish coloured seed, a few green-light bronze seed and the occasional a very dark maroon seed.

Presumably if the latter seedlings grow to maturity is it likely that they would result in mainly white flowered Amarygia's with a couple of pinks/lavender and one possible dark red ? The cross with Enchantment was the only one to produce the occasion dark seed. The seed from the Amaryllis seed parents appeared very slow to develop — taking around 8 to 10 weeks to mature, whereas the Brunsvigia seed was mature within 4 weeks. I was proceeding on the assumption that the x multiflora hybrids were probably originally created using B. grandiflora as the pollen parent. Whereas Amaryllis 'Enchantment' does carry some B. josephinea genes. Have there been results like this in the past when Amaryllis breeders have tried to create Amarygia's. I've read much of Les Hannibal's writings about Amarygia breeding but I didn't find any articles by him on the eventual outcomes of his breeding using Brunsvigia as pollen and seed parents. Do you have any ideas why a white Amaryllis crossed with B. josephinea are likely to produce coloured Amarygia's, while rosy pink Amaryllis crossed with B. josephinea appear likely to produce white coloured Amarygia's?? There may be members with the experience of creating Amarygia's who might know if my assumptions are correct. What broadly is likely to be happening genetically in terms of flower colour?

I have attached two seed images to better indicate the seed outcomes — one is of the A. multiflora 'alba' x B. josephinea and the other is the B. josephinea x A. 'Enchantment'. Cheers

Jim Lykos
Blue Mountains — Sydney Australia Zone 9—10