The amaryllis flower – which is sometimes referred to as the naked lady or belladonna lily – is a monotypic genus, containing only one species, and is indigenous to South Africa. Amaryllis flowers grow from a leafless hollow stem, from the tip of which blooms two to five large, brightly hued heads. The flowers themselves contain three internal petals, and three external sepals, which may appear in a muted shade of white – with unusual red veins – as well as pink, yellow or purple. These bulbous plants are considered to be very easy to grow, and many people like to sprout them both indoors and out. They grow best in rich, well drained soil – so as to prevent rotting below the surface – under full sunlight.
Although it is not exactly known how the amaryllis flower was discovered, one popular story states that the flowers were discovered in 1828 in Chile. It is believed that a young German doctor by the name of Eduard Frederich Poepping was searching the land for new plants. When he discovered the large, trumpet-shaped blossoms, he was said to shout for joy. Later, they reached Europe and were subsequently hybridized – thus producing the far larger version that we see now. According to Greek mythology, a shepherdess by the name of Amaryllis fell madly in love with a rather vain shepherd. He told Amaryllis that he could not return her fervent affections unless she created a flower solely for him. To do as he bade, she pierced her own heart, and the bloom of blood that spread onto her chest became the rich, red amaryllis flower. As well as being fodder for a good deal of fantastic story telling, the amaryllis also has a few uses. For instance, these flowers are thought to have strong antibacterial properties. They are occasionally used in soaps for this purpose, and are well loved as house plants, as they are considered great defenders against environmental ills.
The amaryllis flower is a fantastic option for a variety of expressive gifts. These bold, beautiful blossoms are a symbol of intense beauty, timidity and determination. They are sometimes given to express how stunning the giver feels the recipient to be, or to tell them that they are dead-set on making their relationship strong and long lasting. These flowers are also representative of a hard-earned achievement after a long struggle, and so they make a fabulous present to someone who has persevered – a simple recognition of all that they have accomplished.