There’s a bud on the amaryllis bulb as we start week 8! You can see the colors peeking through the thin green covering over the flower. Each day, the flower stalk and leaves seem to grow by several centimeters. Now the plant is really vigorous, turning towards the light, pushing up stalks.
Here’s the amaryllis bulb, week 8:
The amaryllis, week 8. The lighter green stalk is the flower bud.
For comparison, here is what the amaryllis looked like one month ago:
December 9, 2013. One month ago.
One month later, January 6, 2014. The amaryllis bulb is really taking off!
The History of the Amaryllis Bulb
Many of our cherished flowers are named after mythology, and the amaryllis flower is named for a Greek shepherdess, Amaryllis, whose unrequited love for a gardener caused her to pierce heart with an arrow every day he spurned her. The blood apparently flowed freely (ugh), and the poor woman’s chest was covered in scarlet, like the amaryllis flower. Why do so many Greek myths end like this?
Anyway, here in America, the first known reference to the South American flower called the amaryllis came from Thomas Jefferson’s writings. Jefferson mentioned the flower in his diary in 1811, and most scholars believe it came to America and Europe sometime in the 17th century from South America, possibly Chile. Like many of our holiday plants, the amaryllis is blooming in the middle of our winter because it is summer in its native habitat. Poinsettia, Christmas cacti and amaryllis are all from equatorial or south American countries, and their biological clocks are set to the opposite time zone. That’s good for us, because we get pretty flowers in the winter, when all else is quiet!