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.

Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss

A variable bulbous perennial with many naturally occurring varieties.  2-4 flowered umbels bear bright green flowers, red at the base, followed by 6-8 strap-shaped leaves, to 45cm long.  The flower colour of varieties can range from orange to scarlet with white, yellow or green markings.  Hybridises freely.  [Baker Am., RHSD, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

First botanically described by Lamark in 1783 as Amaryllis punicea [Encycl. vol.1, p.122/1783], although Linnaeus had mentioned this plant under the name of Amaryllis dubia in 1775, a name now considered invalid [Pl. Surinam p.39/1775]. In his monograph Amaryllidaceae William Herbert proposed the genus Hippeastrum for many of the larger flowered Amaryllids from the Americas, and described this plant under the specific names of equestre and barbatum [Herbert p.138/1837]. Voss proposed the correct specific name puniceum in 1895 [Vilm. Blumengärtn. ed. 3, vol.1, p.1033/1895], the name now generally accepted.

‘It flowers towards the end of April.  The flowering stem rises above the foliage, to the height of about a foot or more, produces from one to three flowers, similar to, but not quite so large as those of the Mexican Amaryllis [Hippeastrum reginae (L.) Herb.], to which it is nearly related; it differs however from that plant essentially in this, that the lower part of the flower projects further than the upper, which gives its mouth that obliquity which Linnaeus describes.’  [BM t.305/1795].  Figured also at BM t.2315/1822 as H. spathaceum, although this latter plant is almost certainly a hybrid.  Introduced to Britain in 1710.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Hippeastrum equestre was recorded as received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831.  [MP A2948].  It may have been lost as it was included among desiderata to Loddiges’ Nursery, 6th January 1845.  [MP A2933-2, p.28].


Published May 10, 2009 - 03:36 PM | Last updated Jul 13, 2012 - 01:26 PM

Shown are part of a leaf and a bright red, funnel-shaped flower with paler throat.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.305, 1795.

Hippeastrum puniceum (Lam.) Voss | BM t.305/1795 |as Amaryllis equestris  BHL


Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

Caribbean, South America

  • Hippeastrum equestre (Aiton) Herb. 
  • Hippeastrum barbatum Herb.
  • Hippeastrum barreirasum (Traub) H.E.Moore
  • Hippeastrum ignescens Regel
  • Hippeastrum occidentale M.Roem.
  • Hippeastrum purpureum Kuntze
  • Hippeastrum pyrrochroum Lem.
  • Hippeastrum roezlii (Regel) Baker
  • Hippeastrum soratense Rusby
  • Hippeastrum spathacea Sims
  • Hippeastrum wolteri Wittm.
  • Amaryllis punicea Lam.
  • Amaryllis equestris Aiton
  • Amaryllis barbata (Herb.) Traub
  • Amaryllis barreirasa Traub
  • Amaryllis belladonna E.Mey. ex Steud.
  • Amaryllis biflora Sessé & Moc.
  • Amaryllis brasiliensis Andrews
  • Amaryllis dubia L.
  • Amaryllis haywardii Traub & Uphof
  • Amaryllis ignescens Regel
  • Amaryllis pyrrhocroa (Lem.) W.Bull
  • Amaryllis roezlii Regel
  • Amaryllis spathacea (Sims) Sweet
  • Aschamia equestris (Aiton) Salisb.
  • Crinum barbatum L. ex Herb.


Common Name

Barbados Lily

Name in the Camden Park Record

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) equestris 


Confidence level high