Scadoxus cinnabarinus

Scadoxus cinnabarinus: The Vibrant Cinnabar Scadoxus

Introduction and Varied Names: Scadoxus cinnabarinus, commonly known as Cinnabar Scadoxus or Forest Fireball Lily, is a tropical herbaceous perennial plant native to the rainforests of Western and Central Africa, particularly Cameroon. It belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family and shares a close relation to Clivia.

Growth Habit and Environmental Preferences: Scadoxus cinnabarinus grows from rhizomes and thrives in humid growing conditions. It is sensitive to intense sunlight and prefers partial shade for optimal development. Its striking beauty and unique characteristics make it a captivating addition to any garden or collection.

Historical Background and Taxonomy: Initially named Haemanthus cinnabarinus by Joseph Decaisne in 1857, the plant-derived its name from the flower’s red hue resembling the mineral cinnabar. Joseph Decaisne, a renowned French botanist, extensively studied flowers brought back by various explorers and travelers. Later, in 1838, Constantine Samuel Rafinesque reclassified it as Scadoxus. Notably, Scadoxus cinnabarinus is poisonous and was historically used as an arrow poison in Africa.

Physical Characteristics and Attractiveness: Scadoxus cinnabarinus typically reaches a height of about 60cm or 24 inches. The flowers of this species are a vibrant shade of orange and grow in an umbel formation on a leafless stem. The alluring blossoms attract bees, butterflies, and birds, adding liveliness to any garden.

Cultivation Tips for Scadoxus cinnabarinus:

Environmental Requirements: Provide Scadoxus cinnabarinus with a warm and humid environment throughout the year. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight, as it prefers partial shade for optimal growth.

Propagation Method: Scadoxus cinnabarinus can be propagated from seeds. Wait until the seeds turn red and naturally fall off the plant, or they can be gently removed by touch. Wipe the surface of the seeds and immediately introduce them to moist soil. Place the seeds on the soil surface without burying them. Germination will occur, and although leaves may not appear initially, the plant will develop rhizomes. After a dormant period, the leaves will eventually emerge.

Rare Cultivation and Patience: Scadoxus cinnabarinus is rarely found in cultivation due to its slow growth rate. It may take several years of consistent container growth before it reaches the flowering stage. Patience and dedicated care are required to enjoy the captivating beauty of this species.

Embrace the allure of Scadoxus cinnabarinus, the Cinnabar Scadoxus, or Forest Fireball Lily, as it brings vibrant color and tropical charm to your botanical collection. With its intriguing history and exquisite characteristics, this plant is sure to captivate the hearts of plant enthusiasts and collectors alike.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus
Cinnabar Scadoxus or Scadoxus cinnabarinus
Scadoxus cinnabarinus
Scadoxus cinnabarinus at Kew Gardens

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