Amaryllids of Southern Africa

Amaryllid Seeds

Above, Haemanthus albiflos seeds with the outer fruit removed. 

The insert shows the seeds still in their fruity skins. 


Find out how to Protect your Country at - 

Department of  Agriculture


Australian Quarantine Inspection Service      


Need help with your search? 

   -   orPhone Dash on:  02 6026 7377 




The following is what is recognized globally as a description of seeds from the Amaryllidaceae Family, a bulbous group of plants - 

Amaryllidaceae Fleshy Seeds:

 - Seeds of various Amaryllidaceae species are recalcitrant, this means they cannot stop their germination process. These seeds germinate as soon as they are ripe, not dependant on conditions. Many of these seeds develop little shoots, emerging from the seeds - they are NOT bulbs, but seeds which were harvested from seed capsules. 

Genus with fleshy seeds include - Ammocharis - Amaryllis - Apodolirion -  Brunsvigia - Boophone - Carpolyza -  Clivia - Crinum - Crossyne - Cybistetes -  Gethyllis - Haemanthus - Hessea - Hymenocallis - Nerine -  Scadoxus - Strumaria

Amaryllis :

 - Common name for several related plants, especially for certain hybrids cultivated as ornamentals and sold as dried bulbs for growing as houseplants. A related plant, the belladonna lily or naked lily, is a member of this genus. The name is applied to a family, closely allied to the lily family and the iris family, containing about 90 genera and 1200 species. In addition to the members of the genus to which amaryllis belong, familiar plants placed in the amaryllis family include daffodils, snowdrops, and Kaffir lilies (Clivia).

Scientific classification: 

Amaryllis belongs to the genus Hippeastrum, South America of the family Amaryllidaceae. The belladonna lily, or naked lily, is classified as Amaryllis belladonna. Daffodils are classified in the genus Narcissus, Europe and Middle East snowdrops in the genus Galanthus, Europe, and Kaffir lilies (Clivia) in the genus Clivia, Republic of South Africa.



 Notes: There is a group of Amaryllids that produce fleshy seeds as a form of reproduction. This group can also be narrowed further by continent. South African Amaryllidaceous geophytes in this fleshy seeds group contain the genus Amaryllis (2 known Taxa. none weedy), Crinum (150+  known Taxa. world wide, Approx 50+  Taxa. in Republic of South Africa, none weedy), Haemanthus Approx 21 Taxa. None weedy many endangered) Ammocharis Approx. 2 Taxa. None weedy, Boophone (3 species, none weedy,) Crossyne ((recently re-named from Boophone) 2 species, none weedy). There are more, smaller genus geophytes too. Some of these include, Strummaria, Gethyllis, Hessea, these are none weedy also and some are endangered.

In the genus Crinum, some 150+ species and 1000ís of hybrids, all are none weedy and present no threat to Australian Horticulture, as these are ornamental plants. The seeds of Crinum are sometimes smooth, or rough, can be the size of a pea, up to the size of a mans  fist. Some seeds have a round, furry covering (those from arid regions) and some will germinate in transit. Although the seed have shot and produced a small bulb, this biomaterial is still considered as seed material and is not a bulb. Consider that the soil has not been in contact with the seed/bulb and the bulb will be connected with a radical and still feeding from the seed as such. End.

           The note above was prepared for Australian Quarantine Inspection Service ( AQIS), to enable passage of seeds that had arrived in Australia already sprouted. These notes were prepared for Mr. Anthony Wicks, AQIS, Canberra, Australia, to indicate that fleshy Amaryllidaceae seeds, being imported into Australia, were not bulbs. Even though the seeds had sprouted and formed bulbils. 

Amaryllidaceae seeds basically come in many forms. Black winged seeds of the Genus Cyrtanthus. Hard, round black/brown seeds from Genus such as Galanthus and Narcissus.  Thick segment/disk shaped seeds from the Genus Worsleya. And fleshy seeds. 

Fleshy Seeds are the seeds I have addressed on this page. 

These can be Round/Oblong/Rough in shape and have a short viability time due to the fast germination signals within the seed. 

These seeds are best planted as soon as obtained, pressed into a large pot of a mostly sandy medium. A good recipe I have used is 1 Part Potting Mix to 6 Parts of washed river sand. Raising the smaller Amaryllids such as Strumaria, Hessea and Gethyllis in pots to begin their life, is a sound way of ensuring success. You may cover the seeds if you are raising them out doors. When I cover the seeds out doors I use only sand. This is an easy medium for the shoot to break through I have found.  As a general rule of thumb, in the greenhouse, the seeds will not need to be covered, simply pressed into the medium and left to germinate. Planting out in the garden can be in their second or third year, depending on where they go and if they are large enough to fend for themseles i.e. they won't get grown over. 

Above, Crinum species (left) just picked and Crinum bulbispermum, picked one week apart.

Most Crinum seeds, once picked, turn this colour. 

Notes: Nerine, Scadoxus, Ammocharis, Haemanthus, Gethyllis, Apodolirion, Strumaria, Hessea, Crinum, Boophone, Crossyne, Amaryllis, Brunsvigia and Clivia. All have fleshy seeds and a short viability (shelf life). All can be considered as possible germinators in transit. When you order these seeds from a collector or supplier, be sure to let them know that you want to get the seeds as soon as possible. There is every possibility that your seeds may be help up at AQIS when they enter the country. Please direct them to this page. Here is the link to this page to copy and paste to send to the Officer in charge of a seizure Amaryllidaceae Seeds  Should you encounter further difficulties, please let me know and I will see if there is anything I can do to help.

Happy Germinations,



Above, Crinum seeds showing the radicle as they emerge.

 Up until now, the entire food source is from the seed.

 Once in contact with soil, the radicle with develop basal/root and bulb material. 





Find out how to Protect your Country at - 

Department of  Agriculture


Australian Quarantine Inspection Service      


  -   orPhone Dash on:  02 6026 7377 



  A disk of images and cultivation information called 'East Cape Bulbs' is available from Cameron McMaster. This disk is a highly informative and extremely pictorial collection, captured by Cameron whilst collecting seeds out in the field. Cameron McMaster is one of South Africa's most noted naturalists, whose enthusiasm shines through on this information available. His love of the plants and the surrounding environment resounds through this disk. I consider myself very lucky to have a friendship with such a dedicated and personable gentleman. Order Wild Bulbs of the Eastern Cape disk