Any Idea What These Are?

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

These are the amaryllis that came with the house. According to the woman next door, they have been here for 40 years. Any idea what variety they are?

Thumbnail by Kelli
Bessemer City, NC(Zone 7b)

It looks like "Mead's Strain", originally from Florida but distributed nationally. I think one parent is H. vittatum, with which it is often confused. It takes more heat and sun than vittatum and flourishes in Florida in areas where vittatum would struggle, possibly due in part to planting in too sandy a soil.

I'm not certain of it date of introduction, but Mead's Strain was already in wide distribution in the early 20th century. It is a lovely, much-loved heirloom, and there may be several forms of it around still, from those early efforts to stabilize the strain, which was the way most 19th century hybrids were propagated in number.

corrected the century.

This message was edited May 3, 2008 8:11 PM

Solingen, Germany(Zone 7a)

This seems to be a plausible idea to me.
Thank you Robert!
Mead's strain with midi-sized flowers. The bulbs do well grow outdoors. H.vittatum parentage is obvious,.

Ladson, SC

I really glad to finally find out what the name of the Hipp. pictured was.

Thank you.

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

Thank you for the information. It is interesting that I have an old variety.

Thumbnail by Kelli
Solingen, Germany(Zone 7a)

These hippeastrums are obviously very floriferous. They make a splendid show, outdoors, and H.vittatum parentage is still more obvious.
Kelli! I consider those old cultivars more precious than many modern hybrids. Since I am not familiar with the "Mead's strain" (I only know that these perform outdoors better than other hippeastrums) I can only presume that the term "Strain" does mean here what it generally does mean that is that every single bulb which was released was an individual produced by propagation via seeds. That would mean that your cluster represents an individual clone which might not be found elsewhere.
Did you ever discover more than 4 flowers on one umbel?

This message was edited May 15, 2008 2:44 PM

L.A. (Canoga Park), CA(Zone 10a)

I would say that there are not more than 4 flowers per umbel, but I've never really paid that close of attention. Right now the group has five stalks that are open or finished and they each have four flowers.

I kind of found this plant by accident. When we moved here the yard was somewhat overgrown and I was clearing out some stuff and found a bulb about the size of a walnut. I had no idea what it was but figured that it was probably some kind of flower so I planted it in a place where it would be somewhat protected and wouldn't get lost. That was 11 years ago. I have never dug it up or thinned it so I don't know how many bulbs are there now.

Ladson, SC

Can anyone explain the Mead Strain.

Bessemer City, NC(Zone 7b)

Tranquil (and Kelli too)--

Theodore L. Mead was an avid plantsman working in Oviedo, Florida in the late 1800s and early 20th century. He developed and sold his own amaryllis hybrids (and bred caladiums and orchids as well.) He also had a collection of over 200 kinds of palms. And much more.


As was hinted at, a seed strain is a hybrid or selection whose characteristics has stabilized and "comes true from seed", as we say, when self-pollinated, unlike an F1 or complex hybrid that generally results in mixed progeny. I haven't been able to identify how the strain was created. The answer might be in Mead's papers and letters at Rollins College in Florida.

Kelli-- I have some bulbs (from India) sold as H. vittatum, but I have been unable to confirm that it is the species. One major question I have is that the flowers on mine do not have a prominently "bristled" nectary ring-- the point of insertion of the style into the head tepal. Traub says the opening is "obscure"-- I take that to mean hidden in the midst of the "bristles". Vittatum is quite variable in nature anyway, but this feature seems to be one observed in all vittaum, despite the differences in the amount and distribution of red on the white tepals.

Hamilton Traub describes the flower as having a one inch (2.5cm) tepal tube (the portion of the flower from the tepal bases in the center, back to the start of the ovary.) It isn't easy to get an accurate measurement without damaging a flower, but it can be done. Those on my plant are *much* shorter than that.

Traub also describes the tepal width as 2.5-3.8 cm. A selected strain might have tepal widths greater than those, and while still purely H. vittatum, it isn't a form found in the wilds, having been engineered a bit by a breeder.

My "vittatum" looks a lot like yours:

Thumbnail by raydio
Ladson, SC

Thank you for the information on the Mead Strain.

Wauchula, FL(Zone 9b)

any one have some of those they would care to trade. I would like to have one. Lorine

I'll check mine for offsets, but it has the same problem as Raydio's. It's probably from the same source in India.

I did find a patch of what appeared to be them earlier this year in a yard in LA and collected some seeds that I have yet to do anything with.

Van, TX

I have these and just love them. My mom said they are 'Candy Stripe Amaryllis' so that's what I call mine. :)

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