Rhodophiala rhodolirion

Local plant enthusiast Alan Tracey sent this photograph a few days ago from Chile, taken during his explorations of Andean summer wildflowers. Thanks as always, Alan!

Rhodophiala translates to “red-saucer” or “red-shallow cup” (a reference to the broadly funnel-shaped red flowers) and rhodolirion to “red-” or “rose-lily”. The latter name is in reference to the typical pink flower of today’s species, seen in photographs here: añañuca de cordillera.

Native to Chile and Argentina, this taxon is one of thirty or so in the genus, all native to south Andean South America. Members of Rhodophiala have in the past been considered to be part of either Amaryllis (now solely recognized as a South African genus and quite distant phylogenetically within the family) or Hippeastrum. Though closely related, Presl‘s interpretation of this group of species as distinct from Hippeastrum is now generally accepted. However, I’ve been so far unable to track down a set of characteristics that justifies this (the width of the leaves is used as a character distinguishing the two genera in this Key to the Hippeastreae, but that would not typically be enough to taxonomically define two distinct groupings, so there must be other differences).

The Pacific Bulb Society Wiki has photographs of a dozen or so taxa and a few cultivated selections (and Rhodophiala phycelloides was previously featured on BPotD). All are similar in habit: lily-like flowers borne on leafless scapes with narrow strap-like leaves emerging from the bulbs.

Rhodophiala rhodolirion

3 responses to “Rhodophiala rhodolirion”

  1. Don Fenton

    This is definitely a very pretty pretty! Thank you. The photies are taking a very long time to download since the last change to the site.

  2. wendy

    This reminds me of my first garden at the age of four. I was soon tired of watching and waiting for the flowers to come up and so I simply pushed in a few here or there to sort of hurry things along…

  3. elizabeth a airhart

    out of the darkess comes this lovely reminder that nature offers comfort
    and beauty and hope for a better day i live usa thank you daniel

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