What is the Difference Between Hippeastrum and Amaryllis?

Hippeastrum and Amaryllis are both flowering bulbs grown outdoors in warmer climates. Both plants produce stunning umbelliform flowers and are commonly confused. We take a look at the differences between Amaryllis and Hippeastrum.

 

Amaryllis

Amaryllis

Amaryllis is a flowering bulb native to South Africa made up of two species, A. belladonna and A. paradisicola. Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus named the species Amaryllis in 1753. Flowers on a single leafless stem in autumn, hence the name ‘naked lady‘. At the top of each stem is a cluster of six or more trumpet-shaped flowers most commonly in pink. A month or so later, the strappy foliage appears, lasting through winter before dying back.

Family Amaryllidaceae
Botanical name Amaryllis belladonna, Amaryllis paradisicola
Common names Belladonna lily, Amaryllis, Cape belladonna, Naked lady, Jersey lily, March lily, True amaryllis
Plant type Herbaceous perennial
Flower colour Pink, red and white
Native to South Africa
Position Full sun, partial sun

Hippeastrum

Hippeastrum

Hippeastrum is a genus made up of 90 species and 600 hybrids and cultivars of flowering bulbs native to the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Previously known as Amaryllis, however, in 1987, the 14th International Botanical Congress ruled that the name Amaryllis belonged to the South African genus while the South American natives were transferred to Hippeastrum. Most commercial Hippeastrum hybrids are derived from just six species.

Family Amaryllidaceae
Botanical name Hippeastrum spp.
Common names Hippeastrum, Amaryllis, Mexican lily, St. Joseph’s lily
Plant type Herbaceous perennial
Flower colour Red, salmon, pink, apricot, red and white
Native to Caribbean, Mexico and South America
Position Full sun to part shade

 

What is the difference between Amaryllis and Hippeastrum?


Amaryllis

Hippeastrum
Flowering Flowers grow on a long stalk without leaves. Leaves are present at the same time as the flowers.
Bulb Amaryllis bulbs are planted entirely beneath the soil. The neck of the Hippeastrum bulb remains above ground.
Uses Hippeastrum is widely sold as indoor flowering bulbs during the Northern Hemisphere Christmas period. Can also grow outdoors in warmer climates. Amaryllis typically grow outside in warmer climates and is not generally grown as an indoor plant.
Colours Pink is the most common colour, also grows in white. Red or red and white are most common, also grows in pink, salmon, white, apricot and red and white
Stems Shorter and thicker, green stem. Long, slender and hollow. Pink flowers grow on a purple stem, white flowers have a green stem.
Fragrance Sweet, honeysuckle scent. No scent.