Localities documented in Tropicos sources
United States (North America)
Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage
|Specimen Records:||10||Public Records:||10|
|Specimens with Sequences:||10||Public Species:||1|
|Specimens with Barcodes:||10||Public BINs:||0|
|Species With Barcodes:||1|
Amaryllis ( //) is also known as the belladonna lily, the naked lady, or an amarillo. The genus has two species and the more famous of the two, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest region near the Cape. It should not be confused with Hippeastrum, a flowering bulb commonly sold in the winter months for its ability to bloom indoors.
Amaryllis is a bulbous plant, with each bulb being 5–10 cm in diameter. It has several strap-shaped, green leaves, 30–50 cm long and 2–3 cm broad, arranged in two rows. The leaves are produced in the autumn or early spring in warm climates depending on the onset of rain and eventually die down by late spring. The bulb is then dormant until late summer. The plant is not frost-tolerant, nor does it do well in tropical environments since they require a dry resting period between leaf growth and flower spike production.
From the dry ground in late summer (August in zone 7) each bulb produces one or two leafless stems 30–60 cm tall, each of which bears a cluster of 2 to 12 funnel-shaped flowers at their tops. Each flower is 6–10 cm diameter with six tepals (three outer sepals, three inner petals, with similar appearance to each other). The usual color is white with crimson veins, but pink or purple also occur naturally. The common name "naked lady" stems from the plant's pattern of flowering when the foliage has died down.
The species was introduced into cultivation at the beginning of the eighteenth century. They reproduce slowly either by bulb division or seeds and have gradually naturalized from plantings in urban and suburban areas throughout the lower elevations and coastal areas in much of the West Coast of the USA since these environments mimic their native South African habitat.
Many bulbs sold as Amaryllis and described as 'ready to bloom for the holidays' actually belong to the allied genus Hippeastrum, despite being labeled as 'Amaryllis' by sellers and nurseries. Adding to the name confusion, some bulbs of other species with a similar growth and flowering pattern are also sometimes called this plant's common name "naked ladies". Some of those species have their own more widely used and accepted common names, such as the Resurrection Lily (Lycoris squamigera).
The plant is also sometimes known as the "Jersey Lily".
International Bulb Society
The Herbert Medal is offered annually by the International Bulb Society and is considered the highest honor that a person can receive for noteworthy achievements in advancing the knowledge of bulbous plants. In 1951 this award was given to Mulford B. Foster for his outstanding work with amaryllis.