If you follow me on Facebook or have been a long-time reader of Our Little Acre, you know that I'm crazy for amaryllis. I long ago lost count of how many bulbs I have, yet each year I buy a couple of new varieties just to see if that will garner a new favorite for me.
It's really difficult to choose just one, because there are now so many different ones available to us. I like 'Blossom Peacock' because the gradual shading from white to red accentuates its double blooms.
Another favorite is 'Rembrandt'.
Yet another is 'Solomon'.
And 'Royal Velvet'.
Oh yeah, 'Charisma', too.
I haven't even touched the cybister amaryllis yet. You know, like 'Bogota'.
See the problem here?
But when it comes down to it, if I had to choose just one amaryllis to take with me to that deserted island, the honor would go to 'Papilio'.
It was 'Papilio' that introduced me to amaryllis in 2005, and it was love at first sight. As I learned more about this species, it's no wonder it was the one that captured my affection.
'Papilio' is not actually a cultivar name, as denoted by single quotes. The true botanic name is Hippeastrum papilio, with its species name derived from the Latin for "butterfly," due to the resemblance of its blooms to a butterfly in flight. It differs from other amaryllis blooms in this way, and 2D photography doesn't capture the unique placement of the tepals.
H. papilio was first discovered in 1967 in the tropical forests of southern Brazil. It is now considered to be endangered in its native habitat, due to increasing numbers of sugar cane and coffee plantations as well as urbanization.
This is an evergreen type of amaryllis, growing year round in USDA Zones 8-11. Its foliage and blooms are able to withstand brief exposures to frost. It readily produces offsets, although once separated from the mother bulb, may not bloom in its first year.
The 2016 incarnation of H. papilio is now in bloom. And I am in love all over again.
*Botanical history of H. papilio attributed to Pacific Bulb Society.