Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

x Amarygia parkeri ‘Ameliae’

A cultivar of x Amarygia parkeri (W.Watson) H.E.Moore. In this case a first generation hybrid between Amaryllis belladonna, the seed parent, and Brunsvigis josephinae.

John Bidwill made a number of references to ‘Ameliae’ in his notebook.  In 1841/42, he wrote:

A. belladonna by A. Josephiniana.  This cross is easily affected – a much larger quantity of seeds are formed by A. belladonna when impregnated by A. Josephiniana or Brunsvigia multiflora than are ever produced in a naturally impregnated seed vessel – the seedlings are not very distinguishable from the pure ones of the same plants; there are however many different looking plants among the seedlings so that we may expect considerable variety in the flowers – some are at least 5 times as large as others – some have broad, some narrow leaves – Oct 20/42.  At this time their second hibernation is commencing, the bulbs vary from 1 by ¾ to 3 by 1 inch in size.  March 1847.  Flowered at Camden – see Amaryllis Ameliae p7.  [Bidwill p.4].

Later he gave a detailed description of the flowers:

Amaryllis Ameliae or Josephini-belladonna flowered in March 1847.  Named in compliment to Mrs James Macarthur.  Scape 18 inches high, section elliptic, spathe purplish green, rather persistent, peduncles 3¾ inch; germen triangular, angles [undeciphered] – corolla 4 inches – segments ¾  wide, 2 upper sepalous segments reflexed as in Josephiniana – colour purplish rose variegated with white, but turning dark after expansion – Stamens 1½ inch, shorter than segments of corolla, white at base, coloured at tips.  Anthers purple before bursting.  Pollen hardly [undeciphered].  Flowers disposed in a somewhat circular manner, but a little inclined to one side.  2 plants flowered as above a 3rd with 19 flowers on a shorter scape, the flowers shorter and wider & an almost spherical germen.  [Bidwill p.7].

No detailed description of the leaves is given.

A plant from South Australia, sold to me as x Amarygia parkeri, first flowered in my garden in the autumn of 2004.  Its scape was 85cm tall, green, purplish-red at the base, bearing an umbel of 26 flowers, narrowly-funnel-shaped, up to 11cm long and 6cm across when fully expanded, very distinctly curved to present as a boat-shape.  The upper perianth segments were strongly reflexed when fully expanded, the lower hardly at all, the colour a very deep rose, paler at the base of the tube, slightly yellowish, the anthers distinctly purple before ripening.  Individual flowers were held almost horizontally on pedicels to 25cm long, although usually somewhat shorter, and purplish-green.  When the majority of flowers were open the inflorescence resembled a flat-bottomed sphere in shape.  The flowers were very strongly and pleasantly fragrant.  The leaves, oblong in shape with a rounded end, are similar to a broad-leaved Amaryllis belladonna but wider, the longest measuring 51cm and 6cm across at the broadest point near the centre.  It flowered again in 2005 with 34 flowers in the umbel.  In 2005 I had the opportunity of examining nine other plants in flower.  Although varying in size and height of scape they appeared otherwise identical, the inflorescences consisting of from 19-30 flowers.  Although different to ‘Ameliae’ in some respects, particularly length of pedicel, I have little doubt that this plant is of the same origin, i.e. a first generation hybrid of Amaryllis belladonna and a Brunsvigia species, probably josephinae.  The names under which it is often sold in South Australia, x Amarygia parkeri and Brunsvigia josephinae, are descriptive of this likely origin.  The differences between this plant and Bidwill’s ‘Ameliae’ are to be expected between individuals and clones in a first generation cross and were alluded to by Bidwill in his notebook and in a letter to The Gardeners’ Chronicle.  [GC p.470/1850].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Most late 19th and early 20th century commentators considered Bidwill’s crosses to be fore-runners of the multiflora Amaryllis hybrids, characterised by their vigour and hardiness, a large number of flowers per scape on a radial umbel, sometimes twenty or more compared with ten or less in A. belladonna, often more vivid colours than A. belladonna, although ranging from white to almost crimson, a characteristic yellow to almost orange throat, and often, broader segments with more rounded apices. 

Such hybrids have been given a number of names since they first appeared around 1866, but of most relevance are: Amaryllis parkeri W.Watson, the name proposed for the Kew Belladonna [Watson W. GC p.92 (1909).]; x Amarygia Ciferri & Giacom., the name proposed for all Amaryllis L. x Brunsvigia Heist. hybrids [Nomencl. Fl. Ital., Pt.1. p.121 (1950)]; x Amarygia parkeri (W.Watson) H.E.Moore, the specific name for all such crosses with Brunsvigia josephinae (Redouté) Ker-Gawl. as a parent [Baileya 19(4) 164 (1975)].  Under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (Tokyo Code) such crosses are correctly called x Amarygia parkeri, at least until the origin of the multiflora Amaryllis hybrids is fully elucidated.  On this basis I have proposed the name x Amarygia parkeri ‘Ameliae’ for Bidwill’s plant.  [Mills C.P.J. Australian Garden History v.18 no.1 p.4 (2006)].  For further discussion of the history of x Amarygia parkeri see x Amarygia parkeri (W.Watson) H.E.Moore ‘Blando-Josephiniana’.

Until the discovery of Bidwill’s notebook the identity of Amaryllis ‘Ameliae’ was unrecognised, the brief reference in The Gardeners’ Chronicle having been overlooked.

History at Camden Park

In the autumn show of the Australasian Botanical and Horticultural Society, its second, the prize for the best hybrid was won by Messrs J. and W. Macarthur for ‘a beautiful Amaryllis, called Amelia, from A. belladonna and A. Josephinae.’  [GC p.423/1849].  Grown at Camden Park since it was hybridised by Bidwill.  It has recently been reintroduced to the gardens.  Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.34/1850]. 


Published Jan 14, 2009 - 03:10 PM | Last updated Aug 10, 2012 - 05:20 PM

Figured is a large umbel of deep pink, boat-shaped flowers.  Camden Park.  Colin Mills.

x Amarygia parkeri (W.Watson) H.E.Moore 'Ameliae' | Camden Park | Photograph Colin Mills

Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Australia

  • Amaryllis ‘Ameliae’ [Bidwill] 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Amaryllis Ameliae (hybrid

Confidence level