Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tomkins Square Park lilies

I couldn't believe my eyes. In Alphabet City. A few hundred feet from a motley crew of homeless guys fighting about whether one of them was a racist or not (he had called one of their number a cracker). I saw pink.

I thought they might be a slender form (cultivar?) of Amaryllis belladonna, known in the States as naked ladies, and in Cape Town as March lilies or sometimes Easter lilies, as they bloom towards the end of summer, where they emerge from a median in a busy highway near home, or on the mountains after fire. They are native to the southwestern Cape.

But I think they must be Lycoris squamigera. Also called surprise lily or...naked ladies. Common names, gr. And hardy to Zone 5. Holy moly.

Sign me up.

(And thank you to whoever gardens there.)


  1. Beautiful flowers, whatever they are!!
    Great blog too ...what a lot you accomplish in such a tiny space :)

  2. Yup, Lycoris squamigera. There are several Lycoris species, more commonly grown in the South. This one is considered the hardiest.

  3. I love these lilies. My maternal grandparents had some in their yard.

  4. They used to call Lycoris squamigera "Naked Ladies". My grandmother had some in her yard. I recognized them at once.

  5. Wow, they do look just like Amaryllis - we had to google more pictures and go back to my Amaryllis pics at to actually see any difference. I just learnt something. Thanks.


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