Tuesday, October 11, 2011

× Amarcrinum

The name × Amarcrinum is used for hybrids between Amaryllis belladonna and various Crinum. What looks like a little x before the name is actually a multiplication sign, and it indicates that the entity named is a nothogenus (from the Greek nothos meaning spurious, false, phony), a genus which does not exist in nature.  The symbol × is sometimes read as “times” as in Amaryllis belladonna × Crinum read as " Amaryllis belladonna times Crinum". This is an old cross, one originally made nearly a century ago in the early twentieth century; the original cross was Amaryllis belladonna × Crinum moorei

Crinums of various sorts are easily grown here, but they have several characteristics which make them a dubious choice for the small garden. For one thing, most of them are big, with 4’ sprawling leaves. Nor do they bloom freely: many I have grown bloom once a year, if that. And then there is this: the individual flowers of crinums are often literally ephemeral.

The other parent, Amaryllis belladonna, is also a problem child here. It’s a winter grower, yet its foliage generally does not survive exposure to a typical local winter. Even if the foliage is protected, it’s a very reluctant bloomer. A plant here has been growing in my most protected cold frame since 2005 – and it has yet to bloom. Each year it produces plenty of robust foliage, and the original bulb is now part of a clump. But so far it has not bloomed.

The  plant shown above was planted in 2007 and is blooming here for the first time. Ten more were added in 2008, so I expect the display to get better yearly now.

The flowers are fragrant: I think I detect more influence from the Crinum parent in that regard.  

1 comment:

Leah in NC said...