Monday, August 14, 2017

Hodgepodge 289/365 - Naked Ladies

Today's Facebook reminder of how long I've been sinking time into "social media" was a photo from three years ago, of a "naked lady," a.k.a. Amaryllis belladonna.

Here are some fun facts: this flower, variously known as Jersey lily, belladonna lily, March lily, and naked lady, is native to Cape Province in South Africa but is widely cultivated as an ornamental and has naturalized all over the world, especially in places characterized by a Mediterranean climate (cool rainy winter, hot dry summer). In Portugal one name is meninas para escola (girls going to school), referring to the flowers blooming when the girls in their pink uniforms are starting the new school year. Here in central California it blooms reliably for a few short weeks in August, on utterly naked stems (hence their more bawdy name). After the blossom, the narrow strap-shaped leaves appear.

It is one of only two species in the genus Amaryllis (the other being the rare paradisicola, known from a population of only about a thousand individuals in Richtersveld National Park, South Africa). What we commonly refer to as "amaryllis"—the kind you can buy in grow-from-a-bulb kits—is also in the family Amaryllidaceae (along with daffodils, agapanthus, and onions and chives), but in the genus Hippeastrum. The name Amaryllis comes from a shepherdess in Virgil's pastoral Eclogues, from the Greek ἀμαρύσσω (amarysso), meaning "to sparkle." Belladonna, of course, means beautiful woman.

Here are a few more photos I've take in Augusts past. Click on them to view large on black.

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