Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hardy Amaryllis | Hippeastrum johnsoni


These Amaryllis were grown in Louisiana, brought to Texas, and are over fifty years old. From my research the Hippeastrum originated in South America. 
Around 1750, John Johnson, a clockmaker living in Prescot, England took the Latin named, Hippeastrum reginae known additionally as  Amaryllis de la reine [Mexican Lily] and crossed it with Hippeastrum vittatum producing Hippeastrum johnsoniRaised by Johnson in Lancashire, England, 1810, and a year later by the Dean of Mancester University, Henry William Herbert, son of the botanist. This is the common Amaryllis of our Southern gardens. It is one of the best for the beginner, as it is easy to flower, very fine and slightly fragrant.
Height: 22-26" Exposure: Full sun to light shade outdoors Hardiness: Zones 8-10.

The lily is associated with St. Joseph, spouse of Mary, through an ancient legend that he was so chosen from among other men by the blossoming of his staff like a lily. St. Joseph's Day is March 19.  In religious art the lily is used as an emblem of St. Joseph, and similarly in religious flower symbolism the names "St. Joseph's Staff" and "St. Joseph's Lily" have been applied to a number of flowers.
Joseph, The carpenter of Nazareth, is also venerated as the patron of all workmen, with feastday on May 1st, and thus as the patron of all who work for the building of God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.                                                                                                                                             "The just man shall blossom like the lily" 

Amaryllis Johnsonii
from: Selection of Hexandrian plants, belonging to the natural orders Amaryllidae and Liliacæ, from drawings by Mrs. Edward Bury, Liverpool, 1831-1834. Havell, Robert (1793-1878) (Engraver) Source: From The New York Public Library

Historical Botanical Artists with Hippeastrum Illustrations

Historical botanical illustrations were made of this flowering plant by Pierre Joseph Redoute (1759-1840).

Additional Amaryllis

Check for other beautiful flowering Amaryllis bulbs including Crinum  and spider lily.

Futher Reading

Hippeastrum : The Gardener's Amaryllis, Portland : Timber Press, 2004. New Wave Hippies an Extract from Hippeastrum, The Gardener's Amaryllis


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