The Cottage Gardener 11: 97-99 (Nov. 10, 1853)


Donald Beaton


I passed over this genus in its proper place, and were it not that custom sanctions the practice of growing it in pots, I would not include it among the half-hardy bulbs; but when I saw my old plant of Aurea in the collection at Shrubland Park, last September, in a pot, and looking as well as usual, I determined to give it the same position as Ixiolirion—the bulbs we have of both these genera being, to the best of my knowledge, quite hardy, but very scarce indeed in this country.


This is one of our oldest bulbs, the Amaryllis aurea of all our books, with the same habit as Nerines, to which section of the Amaryllids Lycoris properly belongs. When aurea is in leaf it is easily known from all other bulbs in cultivation, but it is not so easy to tell how that is. The leaves come from the bulb "all in a bunch;" there are from eight to fourteen of them, all of the same size, from six to nine inches long, and scarcely half-an-inch wide, linear, as they say in botany, that means the leaf is not flat; if you lay one of them on its back on the table, the middle or centre line only will touch it; the two edges turn up a little, and that is a linear leaf; those of aurea are more uniformly milky-green than any of the same size known to us. It is a very gay flower, of a golden-yellow colour, and from six to fifteen flowers on one umbel, according to the age and size of the bulbs; the flowers spread out and stand upwards from the scape like those of Nerine, but without the segments waving or reflexing; the only drawback is that they come before the leaves, and generally in August or September; the bulb grows all the winter, and ought to go to rest before the end of May, but under the influence of heat and moisture it will often keep green from year to year, and then it never flowers. It likes very sandy soil, but not peat, and exactly the same treatment as the Bella Donna Amaryllis, only that it is more pliable in a pot.


This is quite a new bulb, very nearly allied to aurea, and quite as handsome, but besides the straw-colour and a pink line along the midrib of the segments, there are botanical points of sufficient difference to separate the two as distinct species. They are both from the extreme east, China and Japan. Mr. Fortune sent over this species to the Horticultural Society in 1847.


This, also, is a very old bulb in cultivation, but if not lost it must be very scarce indeed; the flowers are light crimson. Thirty years ago, every flower like this was called Amaryllis, and put into the stove as soon as they were introduced, and from that day to this, nine gardeners and nurserymen out of ten give too much heat to all their bulbs, and the consequence is, that they either do not flower them, or if they do, they lose them, after a few years. I do not think, however, that any heat or bad treatment would kill aurea; for I have seen it under all sorts of names and bad treatment in my day.


The common Star of Bethlehem in the flower-borders at Beanfort Castle, above Inverness, was the first bulb that I learned the name of, after the Onion, and the first Ornithogalum, and the last of them that I cultivated, and yet I know less of Ornithogalums, by name, than of any other family of bulbs. I have grown some very good ones of them, imported direct from the Cape, both white and yellow ones, but they were never very great favourites with me, and I did not study them so thoroughly, that I can feel confidence enough to make a selection of a few of the best that would please others; therefore, leaving the selecting from this numerous group to individual taste, I shall merely observe that the strong, large bulb of them, will grow in any good garden soil, but those little white bulbs, so much like Onions for pickling, which we often receive from the Cape, require very sandy loam, and well-drained pots, with a little white sand round the bulb. Peat is poison to this tribe of delicate bulbs, unless they are shaken out of it every rest season, to be preserved in dry sand while they are at rest. They are not so excitable as the Ixias to start late in the autumn, and it is more safe in the dry sand till February.


There are three dark-looking bulbs from Cusco, and other ports of Peru, which, from the looks of their flowers, any gardener would pronounce to be Stenomessons, but there is a little want, in the inside of the flower, in the rudimentary-cup, by which Dr. Herbert separates these from Stenomesson; but it seems a pity that a genus founded on the splitting of a hair should have been named after Mr. Pentland, to whom we are so much indebted for a knowledge of the vegetation of southern Peru. This genus is sure to lapse into Stenomesson, when such bulbs come more into cultivation, and are crossed. Miniata, lacunosa, and Sulivanica, are but three forms of one species. The flowers are beautiful orange and red, and are produced in four or six on an umbel, from early spring to July, first spreading out a little, and then hanging down; the bottom part of the flower is much contracted, as in Stenomesson. Pentlandias rest, or ought to rest, all the winter, and flower with the rise of the leaf after resting. Light sandy loam, free air, and abundance of water after the full growth of the leaves, and a partial shade, seem to suit them better than anything. All this race may be distinguished by their comparative shortness, and from the bottom and point of the leaves running narrower than the middle.


This is a genus of pretty little Ixia-like bulbs and flowers with the habit of Anomatheca, but with a much more tender constitution, all natives of the Cape of Good Hope; and, were it not that they are little known, I would have included them in the Ixia group of "Cape Bulbs," and would recommend them to be grown in very sandy loam—more than half sand, with any light loam ; for, like the smaller Lachenalias, there is no such thing as keeping them alive in peat of any texture. Corymbosa, anceps, and oculata, are the best of them, and they are very pretty blue flowers; oculata is blue and yellow. Six or seven bulbs of each of these could be grown in a forty-eight size pot. They are very impatient of much water after the leaf is full grown, and if the soil, particularly peat, gets the least sodden while the plants are in flower the bulbs perish. They ought to be shaken out, and to be kept in sand when at rest. The late Mr. Young, nurseryman at Taunton, was the best grower of them in England, and I believe his secret was the loam instead of peat. The genus is spelled Peyrousia, and Lapeyrousia, after the French navigator; neither of which, however, is the legitimate one, for Sprengel had them first in his genus Ovieda.


This is, comparatively, a new genus, and the bulbs are all but new to gardeners, but they have been long known to science. Humboldt found chloracra in the neighbourhood of Quito, and mistook it for a Haemanthus (H. dubius, of Humb.), a genus to which it has no resemblance or affinity. In 1837, Dr. Herbert includes the plant, with some hesitation, among Phycellas, without seeing it alive. Mr. Hartweg sent it to the Horticultural Society, from the Highlands of Quito, and several gardeners flowered it in 1844, myself among the rest. I mistook it for a new Coburgia, perhaps splendens, of which I had seen a figure from a dried specimen; but a specimen sent to a meeting of the Society passing off for a Phycella (April, 1844), I gave up my chance of a new Coburgia. As soon as Dr. Herbert saw a live flower of chloracra, he saw it could not stand as a Phycella, and, botanically, it could not rank with any known genus, and he named it Phaedranassa (Botanical Register, 1845), from two Greek words, meaning a Gay Queen, and I am quite sure that if ever this gay queen marries out of her own family it must be to one of the Coburgs, to which, however, she is first cousin already. There is not a drop of Phycelia blood in her veins.


This is a handsome flower—a strong, hardy constitutioned bulb—throws up a scape of from 20 to 30 inches high, with an umbel of from eight to fourteen or fifteen flowers, some of which are past before the last one is seen in the bud, thus holding on a long time in flower. Coburgia incarnata gives a very good idea of this plant, only that the red in this flower is brighter than in any of the Coburgs; the tips of the flower are greenish, and also the bottom, but the middle part is a bright red, with a lighter shade. It goes to rest in August, or September, and flowers in the spring before the rise of the leaf. It blossomed with me once in September, but that was caused by a hard experiment. The bulb is a native of the same hills as some of the most difficult Coburgia, and I, mistaking it for a Coburgia, placed it on the sand, on a slate shelf, where I succeeded to flower some difficult bulbs. On this shelf it had only one inch of very sandy soil in depth, and when the roots obtained a full size the bulb was nearly all out of this soil. It was a very cool damp-kept house, with the front ventilators open day and night, except in hard frost, or very dull weather. Here the bulb, leaf, and flower came out in perfection, and the scape kept on flowering for seven weeks. In the spring, by the end of July, the leaves ripened; and in six weeks afterwards the bulb was again in flower, but not nearly so strong as in the spring; in fact, the stimulus of a constant moisture at the roots, when it ought to be at rest, caused the flowers that would come next March or April to rise in September. This and the next species are easily known by the leaf, which is short, broader in the middle, and very narrow at bottom.

For the right soil see the next species.


This is a much smaller plant in all the parts than Chloracra—a smaller bulb, leaf-scape, umbel, and individual flower, but the colours are nearly alike. The Horticultural Society had it from Mr. Hartweg, and it flowered in their garden in the autumn of 1844, when it psssed as Phycella obtusa; but certainly not the Phycella obtusifolia, described, by Dr. Herbert, as a Chilian variety of Phycella attenuata. I have a drawing made from Bridge's specimen of the latter now before me, and I had Hartweg's plant, in flower, in my hand the other day, at Shrubland Park, so I can tell the difference without charging my memory. Phycella chloracra and obtusa must be cancelled from our Dictionary; they are these gay queens. A light sandy loam, such as would flower a Dutch Hyacinth, but with no peat or leaf-mould, and an upright thirty-two pot, will grow chloracra to perfection; and a pot of that size would flower three bulbs of obtusa. Like the Coburgias these will endure great heat for a season or two, but either of two things must follow, as surely as night follows day, and that is, that Coburgias run to leaf-spawn, like Shallots, and never flower at all; and Phaedranassa neither spawns, or increases the number or size of the leaves, but flowers weaker and weaker, every year, till the growth dwindles to death's door. Obtusa, flowering in the autumn without the leaves, is very liable to injury from too much water. Like the Guernsey Lily, people will water it long before it wants any, because the flower-scape is rising; and if the plant happens to be the least confined, the leaves are thus forced to rise before their time, and weaker than they ought; and then we go on to say, one generation after another, that such and such bulbs cannot be grown in our climate.


This la a pretty little Cape of Good Hope bulb, which has been lately rescued from a host of similarities, which all go, at present, under the genus Sisyrinchiums. It was named, by Dr. Herbert, in compliment to Mr. Plant, a zealous cross-breeder and nurseryman, at Cheadale. I have not seen this bulb yet, and cannot say if it is miffy to keep; few of the Sisyrinchiums are; but until the whole order of Irids is revised by an able hand, who can tell which is a Sisyrinchium, and which is not? Plantia will grow in any light compost; and, if it keeps to the family name, it ought to seed, and also multiply by offsets freely enough, under good management.


The "Sweet tuberosa" is as well-known as the Tulip itself, and the ways to grow it we know not, or if we do, we do not practice it, and so we allow the Italians to grow them for us; we merely flower them. In the good old times of "herbaceous plants," they used to have patches of the tuberosa all along the borders, about four feet from the edging, with a stick in the middle of the patch to tie four or five of them to it; and once l saw a large bed of them in full bloom in the open air; they were potted, and gently forced in April, just like Tigridias; and in June they were planted out in the open ground; but now-a-days, we more often see them drawn up like ghosts, in too much heat and confinement, "to scent the rooms." The kind called gracilis is only a botanical plant, of which they take good care in herbariums, the only place it is fit for.


This is an extraordinary-looking, gauky plant, a native of Mexico, and requiring the same treatment as Tigridias. It only produces one flower on the top of a very long rigid stalk; rather a large flower for the plant; a beautiful lead colour, with yellow and violet towards the bottom; but it only keeps open a few hours, and that early in the morning, therefore is of no great use as a garden plant. If it could be crossed with any of the allied plants to Tigridia, the peculiar colour of the flowers would come in useful.


This is a tall-growing bulb from Mexico, whence it was introduced by the Horticultural Society. It is nearly related to Tigridia, but more slender and much taller in growth, and requires exactly the same treatment as the Tigridias, and flowers from June to September, in the open borders; and with a slight protection in winter, it will stand out-of-doors all the year round. The flowers are of a fiery-crimson, or flame-colour; they hang down on long peduncles, and do not open till towards the afternoon, and when open they are reflexed, the individual flower soon fades, but they come in long succession. As soon as the flower drops, the long, drooping footstalk, or peduncle, assumes a diametrically opposite position, and stands up as firm and stiff as can be, holding the seed-vessel to the full sun. It is from this peculiarity that the genus was named Rigidella, signifying, literally, stiff stalk. The scarlet Geraniums have the opposite habit of showing the flower; they point to the sun, but when the flower drops, if the germen is fertilised, the peduncle droops immediately, and all the "beaks " point to the ground, until within thirty hours of the ripening of the seeds, when they begin to take to their first upright position, and by the end of that time they are stiff-stalks again, as much so as Rigidellas. Strong bulbs of this species, in a rich, light border, will throw up flower-stems upwards of four feet high. The bulbs are easily kept, and increase readily, and they are very desirable summer ornaments, when grown in masses, on a south border.


This, the spotless-flowered stiff-stalk, differs very little from the proceeding species. The flowers are a little smaller, but of the same flame-colour, and the plant is somewhat move dwarf, and the leaves narrower than in flammea. It has been sent from Guatemala, by Mr. Hartweg, to the Horticultural Society. In a general way, it might be described thus—the Guatemala form of the plant is a little smaller, in all the parts, than the Mexican form (flammea), with the addition of a spotless flower. The two would certainly cross, if that would improve them; but looking at the two together, I see no opening for much improvement in them; but there are more kinds of them in Mexico, some of which may be likely enough to improve the breed. As it is, this one ought to be planted in front of flammea, on account of its being less of stature, and, also, because the flowers open early in the day, like those of the Tigridia, and begin to close by the time those of flammea are ready to open in the afternoon. In a pot, in-doors, this flowers much earlier than flammea; but give both the same chance in the open air, and they will bloom for nearly three months in the height of summer.

The Cottage Gardener 11: 139-141 (Nov. 24, 1853)


THIS genus is composed of very beautiful flowers, all natives of Chili and Peru; at first, the species were mixed up with those of Habranthus on the one hand, and with Zephyranthes on the other, but only provisionally for a time. When the species increased, however, it was found that the group presented sufficient characters to distinguish them from these two families; and then Dr. Lindley separated them, and called them Phycellas, a word that we might translate into "Painted Ladies; a more literal translation is given in our "Dictionary," but I cannot help thinking that Painted Ladies was the real meaning intended by the author, upon this ground, from the Bella Donna, of Linnaeus, to Phaedranassa, or Gay Queen, of Dr. Herbert—that is, from first to last—most of the different groups into which Amaryllids have been divided go by the name of some celebrated woman. The author gives his translation of Phycella to be "a purple pigment," in fact, rouge, that kind of paint once used by these very celebrities to heighten their natural beauty. If one man calls up the idea of beautiful women by naming his plants after them, and another man introduces his rouge among them, can we be at a loss to understand his real meaning? and if we cannot, I see nothing for it but that Phycella means a Painted Lady.

We all know that these Phycellas, or Painted Ladies, are, indeed, the most fickle of the race; hardy enough for our borders they certainly are; but to bring them out to the full sun, I mean to flower them, is more than most people can do, especially those of them which inhabit the lower plains in the North of Chili. They have one peculiarity not common to bulbs from the Western world, their roots die annually, like those of the Tulip, the Hyacinth, and the great bulk of South African bulbs. They will, therefore, endure to be taken up when at rest, and to be preserved in sand, or in some very dry place. They ought to be taken up not later than the end of August, even if they are quite green at the time; for we have proved, in practice, that that is the turning point in their whole management by which alone any of them will flower two years running. If it comes on wet with St. Swithin they are likely to keep green, and this autumn effort at prolonged growth is certain to hinder them from flowering in the following spring and summer. At the end of February, or early in March, their new roots begin to sprout like those of the Hyacinth in November, showing clearly enough that that is the right time to pot or plant. Peat is poison to them. Naturally, they grow in poor, hungry soil, sometimes sandy, often hard and irony, and always on a hard rocky bottom. It was for them that I first thought of the slate shelf, with the inch of sandy soil for the roots to run in; this thin bed was constantly as wet as the place would hold, from the watering of pot plants, between which certain bulbs stood for experiment. Coburghias, Phycellas, Phaedranassas, and Leucocoryne, would grow and flower on this shelf better than by any other method I ever heard of; but a cool greenhouse seems too exciting to Phycellas at least, and in the open air, under a south wall, I think it is not safe to allow the roots to run deep. My firm belief is, that a great number of South American bulbs require a very different treatment from all others; that a temporary frame against a south wall is the best place for them; that they should be sheltered from early spring to the end of May; and that the frame and glass should then be removed, and the bed to be more liberally watered through the summer than is our usual custom; and also that the bottom of the bed should be impervious to the roots, at a depth of not more than four inches; and I cannot think of any better plan than soft bricks or very porous stone to stop the roots. I am satisfied that all the bulbs which inhabit the lower grounds, from Valparaiso to Lima, will flower easier that way than by any other means. There are bulbs in different parts of the world that require, or, at least, would flourish in an onion bed, other circumstances being favourable. Mr. Pince's new Haemanthus is one of them; and yet it will do just as well on the shelf of slate, in almost fine sand, if the roots are constantly kept moist. It was on that shelf that it first flowered in this country.


This is one of the most beautiful bulbs belonging to South America. The flowers are numerous, on long peduncles; they are above two inches long, and as much across the opening, where the colour is of the brightest and most intense scarlet, with a shade of purple; the tube at the bottom is bright green, or greenish-yellow. The remains of the cup are divided into two or three sharp-pointed lobes between the stamens, and it is on this part of the flower that the main character of the genus rests. The remains of a nectarian membrane are manifest, in some shape or other, in all the Phycellas—that, with the folding-in of the perianth (convolute), when the flower is closed, are the two points on which the genus rests. This beautiful plant was exhibited before the Horticultural Society in April, 1838, by Mr. Tomard, now Her Majesty's head man at Osborne. Mr. Tomard and I used to meet that season, once a month, in Wright's Hotel, in the Strand, with the Committee of the Gardener's Benevolent Institution; and that is how I recollect so well about the then newest and best half-hardy bulb in the country.


This is a most marked species, from the fact of the tube being all but wanting, "scarcely more than annular;" and, were it not for the private mark, Dr. Lindley, who founded the genus, would have been at fault with this plant. As it was, he remarked, when describing it, that "it is a matter of no little difficulty to distinguish the species of this beautiful genus." There are only four flowers on a scape; the flowers not much more than an inch long, owing to the want of a tube; they are scarlet, with an orange-and-scarlet bottom. It is a native of Chili, and was introduced by Mr. Knight, of the King's Road, Chelsea, who first flowered it, and, probably, some of the stock may be there now, in the hands of Mr. Veitch.


Those two must be cancelled; they are transferred to Phaedranassa, but the same general treatment will do for the two families.


There is very little to distinguish this from ignea, of which it is only a variety, with a longer style, and white filaments. The flowers are a bright scarlet, and yellow below, and upwards of two inches in length. The teeth, or processes of the cup, are longer than usual in this variety. It is a native of Concon, in the north of Chili, growing in poor, sandy soil.


The peduncles are very short in this fine species, so that the flowers turn down without spreading out, as in the genus Cyrtanthus; hence the second name. The flowers are scarlet, but not so bright as in the varieties of ignea, and they are greenish-yellow at the bottom. From the close, drooping flowers, and the red stamens, this species is easily known by any one who can distinguish a Phycella at all. It is, also, from North Chili, on the sandy hills, close by the ass, near Concon.


This is also a variety of ignea, with the usual fiery scarlet flowers, with yellowish bottoms; the distinguishing marks are the glaucous leaves, red filaments, or stamens, which are about equal lengths with the style; all these varieties inhabit the maritime, sandy hills, in the north of Chili, and they are of the most obstinate of bulbs to flower freely; but by taking up the bulbs while at rest they are just as easy to keep as the Van Thol Tulip. I once had a parcel of twelve kinds of bulbs from these parts in Chili, from a lady who had them many years, but could not flower one of them; some of them I failed to flower, but Phycella ignea, and its varieties, readily yielded on the slate shelf; and if the whole had been newly-imported, I think they would have flowered at once; but let some of these bulbs once get the wrong way, and it tires a man out to get them round again; so that if I were to try a curious experiment to-morrow with any of these Phycellas, I would rather wait for a fresh lot from Chili than take my chance with bulbs that have been in the hands of some growers for the last ten years.


This is a three-flowered species, with narrow, blunt leaves, and purplish-red flowers on long peduncles; the bottom of the flower is orange-coloured, and the membrane a mere fringe all round the opening of the tube. It was discovered at a place called Cumbre, a pass in the mountains between Valparaiso and St. Jago, and is less conspicuous than those found down near the coast.


The leaves of the true ignea are tipped with red; the flowers, six on a scape, are bright scarlet, with a yellow bottom; the peduncles are long, giving a wide spreading to the umbel; the stamens are longer than the flowers, and the pistil longer than the stamens; the membrane is in the shape of two pointed teeth between each division of the flower. This is a hardy, dark bulb, but most difficult to flower well. It was first introduced into Lee's Nursery.

There are several other Phycellas, known by dried specimens, sent home by different travellers, and no doubt some of the bulbs are in the country, but, as they are so very difficult to flower under the usual treatment, we may not hear more about them. Any one who may possess very dark-coloured bulbs from the arid plains of Coquimbo may rest assured that he has some kind of Phycella. We have several described from hence; also one from Mendosa, one from Colmo, and the finest of all from somewhere near Valparaiso, by Cumming, which is called magnifica, of which I have a drawing now before me. The flowers are three inches-and-a-half long; the tube is red; the middle part of the flower golden-yellow, and the top and opening a deep red, or crimson; and there is another variety of it with the flowers equally long, and nearly all red. That all these kinds are just as easily got at by any one interested in bulbs who lives at Valparaiso, or thereabouts, as any of the Cape Irids, there can be no doubt. All we want is a more general diffusion of "useful knowledge" about bulbs among our home amateurs, who have not the many perplexities incident to serving gardeners to contend with ; and we should excel in this line beyond the growers of any other country.


This genus, which comes very near to, if not only a section of Zephyranthes, is named the Fire-lily, from the fiery-orange of flammeum, one of the species which grows common enough in corn-fields, and on hills near Conception, in Chili. Another species, not unlike it, is the Amaryllis aurea, of the "Flora Peruviana," and grows in strong cultivated land all round Lima, where it flowers in January and February. Aureum was first introduced to the neighhbourhood of Liverpool by the late Richard Harrison, with whom it flowered so late as April; and there is a third species mentioned, but not yet introduced, that I am aware of. They agree with Zephyranthes in having only one flower on the scape, but they delight in stronger and more rich soil than any of the Zephyranths. The same strong yellow loam which suit Hippeasters so well is the right thing for Pyrolirions. The flowers of aureum are stalkless and upright, and full four inches long; those of flammeum are not quite so long; the leaves of both are long and narrow at both ends, and generally only two to a bulb. The stigma in these flowers is very curious—it divides into three parts, and each division is in the form of a spoon.


This is the last species on our list of half-hardy squills, and I introduce it first in order to show how such things get about in books on the science. This is a Cape of Good Hope species, which flowered at Kew in 1813, when a drawing of it was made seventeen years afterwards, when it could be traced nowhere. The drawing was published in the "Botanical Register," "in the hope that others may be more successful;" but from that day to this the hope has not been realised, and this lead-coloured Squill still remains to be reintroduced.


As far as I can make out, are just in the same predicament as plumbea. They seem to have been fated for mishaps. Tournefort, or some great man of his time, put Linnaeus on the wrong scent, and from his day to this hour we call a Scilla, that is common on both the western shores of the Mediterranean and in the South of Spain, as if it were only found in Peru—Scilla Peruviana of our borders. All the Squills are either blue or purple. Cupaniana, a very rare Sicilian bulb, is a light purple; and there is a white variety; and a very pale pink variety of Bifolia, which I possess myself; of all the rest I only know of blue-flowered ones; and I quite agree with those who consider that colour is the only difference between Scillas and Ornithogalums; but I cannot account for it that the two groups have never been tried by florist breeders for improving the race.


The genus Stenomesson is a very natural group of South American small bulbs, with red, scarlet, or orange flowers, mostly of one colour in each flower. The main feature on which the genus is founded is very apparent in the flower of almost all the species—a contraction of the middle part of the tube; from stenos, narrow, and messon, the middle. After this contraction, the flower widens upwards; and if one flower of any of the species were cut off a gardener might easily mistake it for the flower of a Bomarea. The bulbs are generally dark, roundish, and with a very narrow neck; the style is larger than the stamens, and they are a little longer than the flower. They flower without much trouble, and like a free, sandy soil, a little shade from the mid-day sun, and abundance of moisture at the roots in the height of summer, and complete rest from the end of October till March; they also flower before the rise of the leaves.


This is a very pretty, deep orange flower, with six or seven flowers in the umbel; it has the stamens shorter than any of them, not quite so long as the flower; the scape is a foot high; the leaves are narrow, and a little rounded, or rolled back on the margin. The bulbs were sent here from Lima, by J. M'Lean, Esq.


This is golden-yellow, with a long style; the stamens & little longer than the flower; and the nectarian membrane. which connects the stamens in all the species, is sharp-toothed between each pair of stamens in this species. It is a native of the sandy hills in Peru, by Lurin and Pachacama.


This is among the newest, and from the province of Quito. where they seem to be more numerous than on the Peruvian slopes. The flowers are short, five or six in the umbel, and of an orange colour. The style is longer, and the stamens shorter, than the flower.


This is a stout flower, with the style and stamens of equal length, and much longer than the flower. The umbel is two-flowered, and the colour is orange-yellow. The specific name refers to the two curved teeth of the membrane, which roll back between each pair of stamens, giving the inside of the flower a very marked character. A native of the Amancaes Hills, near Lima.


This is a slender species, from Tarma, in Peru, with four flowers on a scape of a deep scarlet colour. The stamens and pistil are nearly of equal length, and longer than the flower. It comes nearer to the shape of a Phycella than any of the genus.


A two-flowered species, discovered by Mr. Hartweg, near Quito. The flowers are orange-red; it is one of the hardiest of the race. Its habit of flowering in pairs, and the nodding flowers not more than an inch-and-a-half long, render it a well-marked species.


This is a remarkable species, the leaf being nearly two inches wide in the middle, about four times broader than is usual in this genus; but like the rest of them, the leaf narrows much at the bottom; the flowers are small, and of a bright orange colour. It was sent from Lima, by J. M'Lean, Esq, in 1837, and grows later in the winter than any of them.


"One of the prettiest of the Western American bulbs."— Bot. R. That peculiar yellow, called yolk of egg, so scarce in flowers, distinguishes this species, reminding one of the Australian Yellow Calostemma. It was sent, by Mr. M'Lean, from Lima, to the Horticultural Society in 1842; it produces six upright flowers on an umbel, on very short peduncles; the leaf is broad for a Stenomesson, and rolled back on the edges.

There are several more of them recorded, and some others have flowered at Spofforth, of which I cannot trace further particulars. One called pauciflorum, in "Hooker's Exotic Flora," is, golden-yellow, and prettily marked with green and red on the tips, much like a Coburghia; a very handsome flower. No bulbs are better suited for a south border of light rich soil than these, as they die down mostly for the winter, and are not at all excitable to start too early in the spring, and our ordinary summers are quite hot enough to flower and ripen them out-of-doors. Once they are well-established, they would increase by offset bulbs; and the first year these offsets have only one leaf a-piece.

The Cottage Gardener 11: 157-160 (Dec. 1, 1853)


THIS genus is inadvertently said to be of stove bulbs in our Dictionary, but all of them that we know of yet are as hardy and as easy to flower as the Vallota purpurea. The old Amaryllis formosissima, that used to flower twice a-year with us, in the pine-stove at Altyre, thirty years ago, is just as hardy as Red Onions. The Bolivian Cybisters require only the frost to be kept from them; and Glauca, from Mexico, is only another form or variety of the Jacobaea Lily, from Guatemala, and is quite as hardy. There is another one, called Cinnabarina, which flowered at Spofforth with Dr. Herbert, but I never saw it, nor even know where it came from, or if it was published. That the new kinds, which were introduced twelve or fifteen years back, were treated as stove bulbs, I can readily believe, for I have seen hardy bulbs that ought to have been out in the borders kept in a hot stove, this very season, by a first-rate gardener; and I know, from long experience, that nine-tenths of all the gardeners ruin their bulbs by too much heat.

Sprekelia formosissima, or the old Jacobaea Lily, is the only bulb that I can call to mind that will grow as well in the stove, year after year, as it will do out-of-doors. The constitution of this bulb is unsearchable.


Here is a living example of how bulbs are often—too often, indeed—mistreated. This bulb was introduced from Bolivia, which you may call the Balmoral of Peru, only that it is in the south-west of the highlands, instead of being, as our Balmoral is, in the south-east; and, as a matter of course, it must have strong heat in London, and then it would not flower, and likely enough it would soon have been lost, but an American gentleman (begging his pardon) who was over here, took a fancy to it, and bought several of the batch, thinking, no doubt, he could flower it before the Londoners; whether he did, or not, I know not, but the year after he sent back one of the bulbs to Dr. Herbert, who understood what it was the moment he saw it, and he found no difficulty whatever in flowering it. Cybister is the oddest-looking flower among the Amaryllids; the flower hangs down in front, like that of formosissima; the lower part of it, or lip, keeps the drooping posture, while the rest of the sepals or petals wave a good deal, and spread outwards and upwards, as if endeavouring to regain the upright position which it held when in bud. At first, the flower-bud stands erect, but when opening, it "tumbles down" to the drooping posture,—from this peculiarity the plant has been named "the tumbler," which is the meaning of cybister. The Tumbler produces four flowers on a scape; the colour is of three shades—blood-red at bottom, and lighter red, with a greenish tinge above. It is a native of Bolivia, and was introduced in 1838 or 1839.


About the same time (1840) that Dr. Herbert flowered the Tumbler, Mr. Knight, of the King's Road, flowered another bulb from the batch of Bolivian bulbs, which, on being compared to the Tumbler, was found to be only a variety of it with shorter flowers. To show how nearly these Tumblers bring Sprekelia to Hippeaster, and to raise the question, Will the two unite by crossing? I may state, that Dr. Lindley, before he was aware of the existence of the real Tumbler, had named this short-flowered variety of it from Mr. Knight, Hippeastrum anomalum; I believe, however, that he has given up that name in favour of the lesser Tumbler; and I further believe, that if Tumblers will breed with Hippeasters, that the old H. aulicum would be as good as any to the experiment on; and also, that if a cross is obtained, the seedlings will be more hardy than seedlings of Aulicum and Vittatum, or, at least, fully as hardy.

There is a mystery about the old Jaoobaea Lily, or Sprekelia formosissima, which we shall never fathom, but it tends to increase the chances of uniting the breed with Hippeasters. We know that the old formosissima was cultivated, for many years, with great success in the front of pine-stoves, when, by forcing it early in February, alter a winter's rest, it flowered twice the same season,—in the spring and in the autumn. It was the same with the Coral-tree (Erythrina cristagalli). When I was a boy, these two were always in the stove, rest or no rest; and the gardener who failed to flower them twice a-year was not considered worth his porridge. If Amaryllis vittata of those days, now a Hippeaster, and all the other greenhouse kinds that have sprang from it, and other half-hardy ones, are potted in strong yellow loam only, they will bear stove heat for years and years without any injury. I know of no other bulbs about which so much can be said, and the fact is a presumptive evidence, to my mind, that the Tumblers must, some day or other, lapse into Hippeasters, For their cultivation, see under formosissima.


This is a much handsomer flower than either of the Tumblers, and if seedlings were to be had in the genus, this glauca might well be supposed to be only a cross from Sprekelia formosissima by some lighter species. The flower of glauca is smaller and paler, and there is a pale streak along the middle of each division of the flower. The leaves are narrow and very glaucous (milky-green). It was discovered, in Mexico, by Mr. Hartweg, who sent it to the Horticultural Society, with whom it flowered in May, 1840. The other kind, cinnabarina, of which I know nothing more than that it flowered with Dr. Herbert, was introduced, and flowered about the same time; so that all the new Sprekelias "tumbled-in" much about the same time, and that after we had all but forgotten when or whence the old one came.


Fur three-quarters of a century this was one of the commonest bulbs in the country, and no one knew exactly where it came from; but from the nature of the plant being able to sustain the heat of the stove, it held its place while hundreds of other bulbs were introduced, loss, and forgotten, because they could not bear such heat. Mr. Skinner at last found it in Gantemala, whence he sent it home; and much about the same time, I unpacked half-a-bushel of the bulbs, from the gatherings of M. Galeotti, in Mexico, under the patronage of Mr. Parkinson, then our Consul in Mexico, so that I was not surprised to hear of the locality of glauca. From this batch, I had s bed in the open air, and without any protection whatever; and the bulbs withstood the severest frost experienced in this country since 1814. Hence my belief that this old stove bulb, as it was once considered to be, is as hardy as a Dutch Crocus; but yet it will not flower without ripening-off the bulbs in warmer earth than our south borders. It is a perfect evergreen, if you choose to keep it watered in the greenhouse during the winter, but, then, it will not flower. At Melborne, this and Valotta purpurea would make evergreen beds, and, probably, flower as freely as Tulips.

It is said that few have ever heard of the natural death of a donkey, and I believe the same might be said about the Jacobaea Lily. It will grow in any good garden soil, and in all kinds of composts. In very rich or highly-manured ground, as for onions, young bulbs of it will double their size in one season, and they never go to rest till ten degrees of frost kills the leaves. But in a damp situation they will go with much less frost, or if a smart frost comes close upon showery weather it is the same

Every cross-breeder in Europe has tried his hand on it scores of times with no satisfactory result; neither by its own pollen, which is good, nor by that of kindred bulbs, has it produced a single seed. A Mr. Johnson, in 1810, gave out that his seedling Amaryllis Johsonii was between it and vittata, but that mistake has been since rectified, by direct experiment on vittata and regina, which produced the same cross. Mr. Turner, the curator of the Botanic Gardens, at Bury St. Edmunds, once wrote to Mr. Loudon about a batch of seedlings from formosissima, but I could never learn more of them when I was in Suffolk.

The best way to treat this and the other species, is to flower them in pots, and as soon as the flowers are over in May, to turn out the balls under a south wall, or the front of a greenhouse, or stove, in rich deep soil, not too stiff; to give them water in dry weather, and to let the frost kill the leaves in the autumn; or, if there is no frost to the end of November, they ought to be taken up, then keeping the leaves on, and spreading out bulbs and leaves to dry gently in any dry, warm place; a late vinery is the best place; but after a week or ten days, you might string them up like onions, and keep them all the winter in the kitchen. They certainly like warmth, all the time they are dry. In March, some of them might be potted, and be put into a cucumber-bed to start; the flower-scape comes shortly after the leaf, and before it is quite open remove the pot to in-doors, as you would a Hyacinth. In April, put a succession of them to work the same way, and in May the same; or, if you like it better, keep them dry to the end of April, and then plant them out, merely covering the bulbs, and they will all flower before Midsummer; only one flower to a scape; but a strong bulb puts out two scapes; and a two-flowered scape has been seen now and then, but it is a very rare thing.

I would strongly recommend these bulbs to every one who has a garden, as they give no more trouble than common border Tulips, and there is a great chance of novelties by crossing the Peruvian Tumblers with the richer Mexican species.


The bulbs included in this genus are, to botanists, the most easy to distinguish of any, from the swelling or strumous formation of the bottom of the style in all of them. This swelling of the lower part of the style, and the regularity of the perianth or flower, are the two private marks which divide them from Nerine. They never got into favour in cultivation, and very few gardeners know anything more about them than the mere names. Angustifolia has regular flowers, white, and lined or streaked with red. Truncata differs from it only in the leaf to a gardener's eye. Linguafolia is broader in the leaf, which is half-an-inch wide, than either of the preceding, and the white flower is lined with green. Undulata at first sight, looks more like a Nerine, the flower being undulated; but the white colour and swelled style tell it to be a Strumaria.

Part of the stamens adhere (adnate) to the smaller part of the style in all of them, except this one, in which the stamens are free; this, with the waved flower, brings undulata very near to Nerine, and, perhaps, it would cross with that genus; and if so, its pure white blossoms, faintly tipped with red, would open a wide field for improvement in Nerine, and render shades and blushes in that section that would vie with Bella Donna itself.

S. rubella, with a red flower, comes next nearest to Nerine, and the rest of the names under Strumaria, in our Dictionary, belong rather to Hessea and Imhofia.

All the Strumarias rest with us in summer, and grow from October to May or June; and require exactly the same kind of treatment as Nerines.

THYSANOTUS, TRITOMA, and VELTHEIMIA, are on my list of half-hardy bulbs; but they are not bulbs, although the leaves and flowers look as if they ought to come from bulbs. Anthericums, Pattersonias, and many others, have the same looks; and a man might be worse employed than in gathering together all such plants—I mean on paper—for some of them are extremely pretty, and ought to be better known as half-hardy herbaceous plants.


Or rather, Tritelia, as it is sometimes spelled, is a genus of small, hardy, or all-but hardy, bulbs, very closely in affinity with Brodiaea, and not unlike it in looks and habit. The old Grandiflora, sent home, I believe, by Douglas, from North-West America, has been lost, like his Calochorts, long ago. Law is one of the prettiest and most profuse flowerers of hardy Lilyworts; but is rather difficult to keep over the winter. I think this is also one of Douglas's bulbs, and I fear it has gone after Grandiflora, for I have not seen It since 1835, when I lost it in Herefordshire Its leaves are long and narrow, the flower scape requires support, the mabel being too heavy for it, like that of Milia biflora, which came out at the same time. The flowers are of a rich blue colour, and from twelve to twenty of them come in one umbel. I had it in almost all peat, and that, I think, was the death of it, and of the Calochortus as well; and I seriously warn all bulb growers to avoid peat as much as possible, till they are quite sure of a new bulb. Uniflora is something like a Crocus in habit, bearing one flower only on a scape; the colour Is a lilacy-blue. Mr. Low, of the Clapton Nursery, introduced it from some one at Buenos Ayres; but it is a native of Mendoza, where Dr. Gillies found it long since. The yellow one, said to be from Monte Video, I never saw, and know nothing about it.


This is a very rare bulb, from South America, high up in Peru, and I am not aware that it ever flowered in England. Those who put it in the stove soon lost it. It is so much like Griffinia hyacinthina in leaf, that any gardener would be excused for treating it to a stove climate, if he did not know that it was a half-hardy plant It is the Crinum urceolatum of Ruiz; and there is another, called fulvea, from a place In Peru called Parcatinanca. This has not flowered here either, that I know of; but, from the dried specimens sent over by Matthews, it must be a very nice plant, with five flowers in the umbeland they not unlike some Bomarea—with a noble-looking Griffinia-like leaf, having the foot-stalk full four inches long, with a broad blade, something in the way of the bottom leaves of the new Lilium giganteum.

WACHENDORFIA, WATSONIA, and WURMBEA, have been treated of among "Cape Bulbs," therefore

ZEPHYRANTHES, is the only remaining section on my list; and the first species in the order of the alphabet is


This is the old Amaryllis Atamasco of Linnaeus, and the Atamasco Lily of our old books. At the time (1737) Linnaeus published his Amaryllis (Hort. Cliffort. p. 135) all the species which he knew of them, and which wore then in the Cliffort Garden, have since turned out to belong to as many genera, or sections of the great family, as Sprekelia, Zephyranthes, Nerine, and Oporanthus. Although he gave the name " because Amaryllis was the Bella Donna of Virgil," he had not seen the Bella Donna Lily of Italy, and, therefore, could not describe the type-plant on which he founded the genus. The Atamasco is the best known species of Zephyranthes to British gardeners; and those who know them not, have only to think of a large white Crocus, to be of a bright red colour in the bud, and pure white after opening, and they at once have the Atamasco Lily in idea. It grows in any good garden soil ; but if it is to be left out in winter, it ought to be planted in white sand, and four or five inches deep. Although it grows in open pastures of Virginia and Carolina, it is apt to rot in damp, or very strong, soil with us in winter.


This is also a well-known and a perfectly hardy bulb, with white flowers and rush-like leaves. A bunch of white Crocus flowers set among a lot of small Jonquil leaves gives a good idea of it. It is a native of Buenos Ayres, but is much hardier than Atamasco; and where it does well, it is one of the beat hardy border bulbs we have, flowering all the summer, until stopped by the frost, and the leaves hold green all winter. In the chalky soil, at Shrubland Park, it increased prodigiously, but never flowered worth a button. I have had it, how ever, with dozens of flowers open on a tuft for months together. In Buenos Ayres it grows in such abundance along. the banks of the great La Plata river, that the shore s silvered with it for miles, as the Cotton Grass of Scotland, on a smaller scale, appears on the margins of bogs and swampy ground.


This is my own favourite of all the genus. The flower is of great substance, large for such a small plant, and of a bright, shining, rose colour, expanding widely under a bright sun. The narrow leaves are purple at the bottom, and look exactly like those of a small, young offset of Valotta purpurea minor. It delights in light sandy loam, and flowers in May and June, producing only one flower on a scape, like all the species of this genus. They all grow and flower in the summer, and go to rest in winter, except candida.


This is a two-flowered species of Habranthus, now called Chilensis, with stout, greenish-white flowers, about which nothing has ever been known in cultivation.


This is the same as Cooperia pedunculata, supposed by Donn to be a Zephyranth.


This is another white flowering species, from Buenos Ayres, with a greenish-white bottom to the flower, a little stained with red on the outside. It is all but hardy, and seeds freely on s south border.


Another very pretty little bulb, from the high mountains in Cuba, and likes a warm situation, or to be kept in a pot in the greenhouse. It is much in the way of Carinata, but with a smaller flower.


This, and another one much like it, called Ackermani, is a variety of Verecunda. The three are from Mexico, or Guatemala. They have white flowers, tinged with red before they expand, which they do quite flat on a hot day. They are very free flowering bulbs, and last a long time in bloom; and each flower is succeeded by a seed pod, and the seedlings flower early, with very little attention


This is rather a stove bulb, from the Blue Mountains, in Jamaica, with white flowers that are greenish below.


This is incidentally mentioned above under Striata; a desirable pretty border bulb.


There are several more species of this genus known to, and described by, botanists and travellers, but they are either not in cultivation, or little known if they are. The whole race delight in light, rich, sandy loam; and if they are grown in pots, large upright 32's are the best for them, and from three to seven bulbs might be put in each pot, and no peat or leaf-mould should be used in the compost. In the East Indies, and in Australia, all of them would answer for Crocuses. Candida, carinata, rosea, and the varieties of verecunda, are the best as a selection of them.


This (omitted in its proper place) is the only genus in the whole series with which I found myself at fault; and in returning thanks to two or three individuals who assisted me out of a fix, here and there, with some obscure species, I must add, that I could not find a gardener, or amateur, who could define Vagaria, or oven conjecture which is Vagaria proper. What I always took for Vagaria is the Spanish bulb called Lapiendra [Lapiedra], with the white band in the leaf, and I made some enquiries about it in THE COTTAGE GARDENER some time since. I once thought I had it by the ear through a gentleman well known as Dodman; but, no; not yet. I knew that Dr. Herbert cancelled his Vagaria long since, on receiving what he took to be its type, Pancratium parviflorum, from the Garden of Plants in Paris. I knew, also, that Dr. Lindley re-opened the genus Vagaria on receiving the true Pancratium parviflorum, of Redoute's Lilacees. Here was a fix; and to one who knows the botheration caused by "Answers to Correspondents," to those whose time is of the utmost value, it was hard to trouble the author of the second Vagaria; but a less authority could not unfix me; and now I have to thank Dr. Lindley for putting me on the right scent. "I regard it as perfectly certain," he replies, "that my Vagaria and Redoute's Pancratium parviflorum (as to the flowers) are identical: but his leaves are evidently represented from some other plant, as so often happens when flowers and leaves are not co-extaneous," or produced together. "Lapiendra is, no doubt, a very different thing.


Is now ascertained, beyond a doubt, to be a native of South America, having been recently introduced from Bogota by C. B. Warner, Esq. The leaves are broad above, and narrow, or petiolated, at bottom, like those of Griffinia; but the nearest affinity is to Eurycles. "Certainly it is no Pancratium." "The flowers are small, firm, white, with a greenish tube," and five of them form the umbel. It is a greenhouse bulb, and does best in sandy loam and a little rotten dung.

Beaton Bibliography