By TammyWhite
1 years ago

Belladona Lily flowers

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Amaryllis belladonna (Jersey lily, belladonna-lily, naked-lady-lily, March lily) is a plant species native to Cape Province in South Africa but widely cultivated as an ornamental. It is reportedly naturalized in many places: Corsica, Portugal, the Azores,Madeira, the Canary Islands, Zaire, Ascension Island, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Cuba,Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Chile,California, Texas, Louisiana, and the Juan Fernández Islands.

Perennial bulbous geophyte with one to two erect solid stems which appear in late summer. The inflorescence bears 2–12 showy fragrant funnel-shaped flowers on a 'naked' (leafless) stem, which gives it the common name of naked-lady-lily. The pink flowers which may be up to 10 cm in length, appear in the autumn before the leaves (hysteranthy) which are narrow and strap shaped.

Amaryllis belladonna is one of the two species in the genus Amaryllis as currently circumscribed.

Belladonna is a Latin epithet meaning beautiful lady. There are many common names around the world, for instance in the Azores, Portugal one name is Meninas Para Escola (girls going to school) referring to the flowers blooming when the girls in their pink uniforms are starting the new school year.

The bulbs are best planted just below the surface of the soil, with the neck of the bulb level with the surface. In colder climates mulching or lifting and overwintering is required. The bulbs may be propagated from offsets. Amaryllis bulbs require little watering and are drought tolerant.

In areas of its native habitat with mountainous fynbos flowering tends to be suppressed until after bush fires as dense overhead vegetation prevents growth. In more open sandy areas of the Western Cape, the plant flowers annually. Plants tend to be very localized in dense concentrations due to the seeds' large size and heavy weight. Strong winds shake loose the seeds, which fall to ground and immediately start to germinate, aided by the first winter rains.

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.

One or two leafless stems arise from the bulb in the dry ground in late summer (March in its native habitat and August in USDA zone 7).

The plant has a symbiotic relationship with carpenter bees. It is also visited by noctuid moths at night. The relative importance of these animals as pollinators has not yet been established; however, Carpenter bees are thought to be the main pollinators of amaryllis on the Cape Peninsula. The plant's main parasite is the lily borer Brithys crini and/or Diaphone eumela.

Amaryllis belladonna was introduced into cultivation at the beginning of the eighteenth century. It reproduces slowly by either bulb division or seeds and has 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. Hardiness zones 6-8. It is also naturalized in Australia.

There is an Amaryllis belladonna hybrid which was bred in the 1800s in Australia. No one knows the exact species it was crossed with to produce color variations of white, cream, peach, magenta and nearly red hues. The hybrids were crossed back onto the originalAmaryllis belladonna and with each other to produce naturally seed-bearing crosses that come in a very wide range of flower sizes, shapes, stem heights and intensities of pink. Pure white varieties with bright green stems were bred as well. The hybrids are quite distinct in that the many shades of pink also have stripes, veining, darkened edges, white centers and light yellow centers, also setting them apart from the original light pink. In addition, the hybrids often produce flowers in a fuller circle rather than the "side-facing" habit of the "old-fashioned" pink. The hybrids are able to adapt to year-round watering and fertilization but can also tolerate completely dry summer conditions if need be.

Amaryllis belladonna has been crossed in cultivation with Crinum moorei to produce a hybrid called × Amarcrinum, which has named cultivars. Hybrids said to be betweenAmaryllis belladonna and Brunsvigia josephinae have been called × Amarygia. Neither hybrid genus name is accepted by theWorld Checklist of Selected Plant Families.
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