Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Brief Introduction....

Here I am, I've decided to build a place for myself and others that will show my interests in geophytic plants and those especially of the family Amaryllidaceae!

Hippeastrum are my primary focus, the flamboyant, exuberant flowers are quite a spectacle that are still incorrectly know as Amaryllis which is a genera of two species from South Africa.  Hippeastrum have long been grown and hybridized because of their ease of forcing and their particularly large flowers.  Hippeastrum are sold usually during the Holiday seasons for Christmas forcing, there is also a new group of small flowering varieties that are sold in spring for summer blooming which are said to be hardy down to zone 7b (USDA).  I'm not really sure how reliable they would be in a zone 7b winter which can include temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit; maybe these hybrids are progeny of the incredibly hardy Hippeastrum x johnsonii which I've seen growing as far north as zone 6? 

While the hybrids of Hippeastrum are a quite popular and are beautiful plants I prefer to grow species with a few exceptions.  The species aren't nearly as tough but I would argue that many are equally or more beautiful than the large hybrids we have today.  There are so many variations in the species and they exist in almost every color imaginable with the exception of blue.  They're native to the Caribbean Islands, Mexico and throughout South America with Brazil and along the western side of the Andes Mountain Range hosting the majority of species. 

Hippeastrum puniceum
Quillabamba, Peru
It seems that many species also contain a multitude of varieties or forms and   many are really difficult to decipher like the orange clade containing: Hippeastrum striatum, petiolatum, puniceum and blossfeldiae which all are native to Brazil with only H. blossfeldiae being endemic.  H. puniceum has a very large distribution and grows basically everywhere Hippeastrum are found.  Some of my favorite forms of H. puniceum are a red form (pictured on the left) that I grow from Quillabamba, Peru and Hippeastrum puniceum var. semi plena which is a double form native to Puerto Rico and Mexico as well. 

I will be updating my blog as much as possible, I will make sure to post pictures of everything as it blooms and I will write as much as I can about each species I post.  I hope I can do as much with this blog as I have it in my mind I will do!

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