The Universal Gardener and Botanist (1778)

Thomas Mawe, John Abercrombie

AMARYLLIS, Lily-Daffodil.

The plants are of the bulbous rooted tribe, and produce large liliaceous-like flowers, of extreme beauty and elegance.

Class and order, Hexandria Monogynia.

Characters.] CALIX, a spatha or sheath. COROLLA, six oblong spear-stiaped petals. STAMINA, six filaments, with incumbent antherx. PISTILLUM, a round germen, single style, having a trigonous stigma. PERICARPIUM, an oval capsule of three cells, enclosing round seeds.

The species of note are,

Yellow Autumnal Amaryllis.
] Amaryllis with one equal flower from each sheath, having decimated stamina.

2AMARYLLIS Atamusco.
Atamusco Amaryllis.] Amaryllis with one equal flower, and declinated style.

3AMARYLLIS Sarniensis.
Guernsey Amaryllis, or Lily.
] Amaryllis with many flowers in each scabbard, having revolute petals, and erect stamina and style

Bella-donna Amaryllis, or Lily
] Amaryllis with many bell-shaped equal flowers in each sheath, and drooping stamina and style.

5AMARYLLIS Bella-donna.
Mexican Bella-donna Amaryllis.
] Amaryllis with two or three bell-shaped equal flowers from each scabbard, and declinated stamina and style.

6AMARYLLIS Zeylanica.
Ceylon Amaryllis.
] Amaryllis with a taper two-edged stem, many bell-shaped equal flowers in each scabbard.

7AMARYLLIS Formosissima.
Most handsome Amaryllis, or Jacobaean Lily.
] Amaryllis with one large, irregular, nodding flower, and the stamina and style drooping.

8AMARYLLIS Orientalis.
Oriental Amaryllis, or Brunswigia.
] Amaryllis with numerous irregular flowers in each sheath, and tongue-shaped leaves.

All these plants produce very pretty flowers; some are of singular beauty, and merit places in every curious garden, where there are conveniences for their culture. The two first are hardy, the third and fourth require shelter from frost; the other four need the aid of a stove.

General Description.

The roots are universally bulbous, mostly very large, and commonly oblong.

The flower-stem rises annually from the root, in most sorts naked and unattended by leaves, and attain different heights, from three inches to two feet, and at the termination or summit of each stem, is produced the flower-bud, which is a sheath or scabbard, that bursts and protrudes the flower or Cowers, which arc large, and composed each of six oblong petals, of the liliaceous form, appearing chiefly in autumn, and when they fade the leaves come up, which are generally long and narrow, some large and flaggy, and which, together with the main bulbs aud offsets, continue growing until May or June, when the leaves decay, and is the time to remove or transplant the roots, and separate the off-sets for propagation.

The Yellow Autumnal Amaryllis attains but three or four inches in height, several stems rising in succession, each supporting one large yellow flower, in September and October.

The Amaryllis Atamusco sends up one stem, six inches high, elevating one large beautiful flower, carnation-coloured, changing almost white, appearing in summer or autumn.

The Guernsey Amaryllis is one of the finest flowers that can be seen. The stem rises a foot and half high, terminated by an oblong scabbard, from which bursts forth the cluster of flowers; the colour a bright shining red, spangled with golden specks, and a deep red vein running along the middle of all the petals. It flowers in October, and continues a month in full lustre.

The Amaryllis Regina sends up an erect firm stem, two feet in height, supporting an umbel of six or eight very large reddish purple flowers, in October.

The Mexican Amaryllis rises a foot high, crowned by two, three, or four large flame-coloured flowers, in March or April.

The Ceylon Amaryllis demands esteem both for its beauty and delightful fragrance. The stem attains two feet in height, surmounted by six or eight snowy white flowers, having all the petals beautifully streaked with lines of purple.

The Jacobaean Amaryllis is a flower of superior beauty, and singularity of form. The flower-stalk obtains fifteen inches stature, crowned by the flower, there being only one, which is very large; the colour a beautiful scarlet, with crimson filaments, and yellow antheræ; the petals are irregular, and their determination is curious, three of which droop, two stand horizontally, and one erect; the whole nods on one side of the stalk. The plant flowers in spring, autumn, or winter; and it is peculiar to the species, that after having sent up a flower-stem on one side of the bulb, it frequently sends up one or two more, in successive order, from the other sides.

The Oriental Amaryllis sends up a robust stem a foot high, terminated by a large swelling scabbard, which protrudes a considerable spherical cluster of fine red flowers, each of which have five of its petals turned inward, and the sixth stands outward. It flowers late in autumn.

Culture, Propagation, &c.

The bulbs of all these plants may be purchased at most of the nurseries, and planted in August and September.

The two first sorts may be planted in any dry warm border, especially the first, where they will flower annually; the other being somewhat impatient of severe frost, it is also necessary to plant some in pots, to have occasional shelter in winter.

The Guernsey Lily requires protection from excessive wet and frost, so should be planted in pots to be moved to occasional shelter during their bloom, and from the rigour of winter.

Great numbers of these bulbs are imported hither annually from the Isle of Guernsey, for sale; they generally arrive in July, which if procured and planted before the middle of August, some of the large roots will probably flower the following October. The proper sized pots wherein to plant these bulbs are twenty-fours, which fill with rich, light, sandy earth, plant one root in each pot three inches deep, and place the pots where they may be screened from the mid-day sun during the hot weather, giving occasional moderate waterings, and about the middle of September, when the flower-bud will begin to make its appearance, remove them to the full sun, to remain till their flowers begin to expand, then place them to have occasional protection from rains and boisterous winds, either in a green-house, garden-frame, or any airy room.

When the flower fades, remove them into a garden-frame for the winter, to have occasional shelter of the glasses in times of violent rain, frost, snow, &c.

As it is peculiar to this species to flower somewhat reluctantly, inasmuch, that probably not five roots in twenty will perform that office the same season; therefore, permit the bulbs to remain unremoved three years, managing them as above, and they will afford a more considerable bloom the succeeding autumns. It is however always eligible culture to transplant the bulbs once in the above period into fresh earth, and separate the off-sets, which plant either in pots, or in a bed of light dry soil, giving occasional shelter in winter, and in three years they will attain a flowering state, when they are to be treated as already directed.

The Bella-Donna Amaryllis is tolerably hardy, and will succeed in a warm dry border, with occasional shelter from frost. It is however adviseable to plant some also in pots, and manage them as directed for the Guernsey Lily. If it is indulged with a stove, it generally flowers with greater lustre.

The Mexican, Ceylon, Jacobaean, and Oriental Amaryllis, are of tender temperature, which, though they may be preserved through the winter in a warm green house, they rarely flower, unless the pots are plunged in a good hot-bed, under frames and glasses, towards the time of their respective seasons of flowering. All these sorts, however, succeed best in a stove, and where there are such conveniences, it is eligible culture to indulge the plants with that temperament of heat, when they will not fail to produce their beautiful flowers annually, and the Jacobæan Amaryllis often two or three times in that period of time.

All the sorts are propagated by the off-sets, or smaller bulbs, that arise annually from the sides of the main roots, which should be transplanted when their leaves decay, and the off-sets separated for propagation, and planted by themselves, and in two or three years they will attain a due size for flowering, when they are to be managed as above directed.