All about the Amaryllis

The amaryllis is the next flower on the 100 Flowers Project.

The amaryllis is a small genus is flowering bulbs within the tribe Amayllideae. However, it’s often confused with the genus Hippeastrum. Many cultivars of the genus Hippeastrum are commonly called "amaryllis" and sold in the winter months since they bloom well indoors in the winter.

The better known, actual amaryllis flower is the Amaryllis belladonna. It is native to South Africa. It is a bulbous flower and was first bred in the 1800s in Australia. However, no one remembers what exact species it was crossed with to produce white, cream, peach, magenta and nearly red color variations. The hybrids were crossed back onto the original Amaryllis belladonna and with each other to produce naturally seed-bearing cultivars that come in a very wide range of flower sizes, shapes, stem heights and intensities of pink. These hybrids have distinct stripes, veining, darkened edges, white centers and light yellow centers, also setting them apart from the original light pink. There are also pure white varieties as well.

Plants of the genus Amaryllis are known as belladonna lily, Jersey lily, naked lady, amarillo, Easter lily in Southern Australia or the March lily in South Africa, due March to its tendency to flower around March. This is one of numerous genera with the common name "lily" due to their flower shape and growth habit. However, they are only distantly related to the true lily, Lilium. In the Victorian Language of Flowers amaryllis means "pride".

About the Papercut:

After looking up information about the amaryllis, and seeing pictures of the Hippeastrum, it’s clear to me that I actually cut a Hippeastrum flower, not a true amaryllis flower. However, since my list of flowers for my 100 Flowers Project isn’t focused on the scientific names of flower, but rather the common names, we can pretend this is an amaryllis flower as commonly thought of.

When selecting reference photos, I was really drawn to the more red and dark pink varieties with stripy veins on the petals. I actually found that I liked these Hippeastrum varieties more than the true amaryllis, which looks so much like a lily to my untrained eye. This is probably another reason I accidentally drew and cut the wrong flower— I thought I was looking at some type of lily when I saw the Amaryllis belladonna species, which didn’t seem to be what I expected from the Hippeastrum variety we commonly call an amaryllis. The more you know.

Regardless, this one was an enjoyable one to cut even despite all the stripes and veins I included on each petal. I choose a deep red background to match the red varieties I saw and liked. I also liked how the flowers clump in a cluster at the top of the stem. It made for a unique composition as well.

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