The Mysterious Amaryllis Belladonna Pops Up in 417-land

They seem to bloom out of nowhere and they’re gone before you know it. The Amaryllis belladonna are in full swing right now, so we asked conservationist Siw Shauni Hauger to give us the lowdown on the area’s most elusive lily.

by Heather Kane Kohler

Aug 06 2020 at 8 a.m.

Naked Lady flowers outdoors
Photo courtesy ShutterstockAmaryllis belladonna are a pleasant surprise when they bloom in southwest Missouri.

The Amaryllis belladonna has many identities. Many 417-landers refer to the fragrant pink lily as the “Naked Lady”, named for its skinny and leafless stems. Belladonna is Latin meaning “beautiful lady”, so you can see where the “lady” part comes from. There are many other common names around the world, for instance in Portugal one name is “Meninas para a Escola” (girls go to school) referring to the flowers blooming when the girls in their pink uniforms are starting the new school year.

The timing of the flower’s blooms is always a bit of a wonder. “The flower doesn't actually grow overnight,” says local conservationist Siw Shauni Hauger. “Even though it seems like they do. It produces leafy stems in very early spring, so people forget about them by the time they bloom in late summer. All the buds bloom at the same time and for only a week, so it feels like a surprise of blooms.” The flowers can be found in areas that have been untouched or neglected, as well as cultivated urban gardens throughout the area. “I love that they are always a surprise to me in my garden.” Hauger says. “I’m in my garden every day and I know what everything is, but these always catch me by surprise. It’s quite fun.”

This blog was updated 08-07-2020.