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Scadoxus cinnabarinus

Scadoxus cinnabarinus, Cinnabar Scadoxus, or Forest Fireball Lily is native to the rainforests in Western and Central Africa but mainly in Cameroon. It is a tropical herbaceous perennial plant. It is closely related to Clivia.

It grows from rhizomes and prefers humid growing conditions. It is senstitive to strong sun. It belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family of plants.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus
Scadoxus cinnabarinus

In 1857 by Joseph Decaisne first named it Haemanthus cinnabarinus. The name referred to the flower’s shade of red, similar to cinnabar. Joseph Decaisne (1807-82) is a French botanist. Though he was born in Belgium he primarily lived in France. He studied flowers brought back by many travelers. Later in 1838, the name Haemanthus cinnabarinus was changed by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque to be classified as Scadoxus. Scadoxus cinnabarinus is poisonous. It was used as an arrow poison in Africa.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus grows to about 60cm or 24in. The flowers are bright orange. They grow in an umbel, on a leafless stem. Scadoxus cinnabarinus attracts bees, butterflies, and birds.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus is rarely in cultivation. It is slow-growing and will require several years in the same container before it would flower. Keep it warm through all seasons.

Propagate Scadoxus cinnabarinus from seed. Seeds are ready when they turn red and fall off the plant. or they fall if you touch them. Wipe their surface and immediately introduce them to moist soil. Not in the soil but on the surface. They germinate, but not the leaves. They start producing the rhizome and after some dormant period, the leaves will appear.

Scadoxus cinnabarinus
Scadoxus cinnabarinus at Kew Gardens

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I am a flower enthusiast and a gardener at heart. Ever since childhood I loved reading about plants and started gardening at an early age. First by helping my father in the garden and later managing a large garden myself in my teen years. I planted and cared for a large number of plants, flowers, and trees both outdoors and in a greenhouse. To this day I enjoy visiting gardens and parks and learning about new and old specimens and varieties of plants.

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