Amaryllis. Or Hippeastrum.

I took this pictures in Cisarua, Puncak, West Java. I always love the flowers but also always hesitate to plant them at home for various reasons: the soil condition at home, the temperature at home, and the complicated care needed. I’m afraid I screw up planting it and end up feeling sorry whenever I see the plants naked without flowers.

Amaryllis flower is actually an Hippeastrum. Many (common) people mistakenly call this Hippeastrum flower as Amaryllis. Probably because Amaryllis is a much prettier name and much easier name to say.┬áThe flowers come in many colors and variations. Hippeastrum means a horseman’s star, while the flower’s common name, Amaryllis, means sparkling. While the name Amaryllis comes from a Greek Mythology, the name Hippeastrum comes from some Englishman. Probably it is because no Greek god/goddess want to be called Hippeastrum. Now, let me tell you a bit about the story of Amaryllis (because the story of a horseman’s star is absolutely boring).

It is said in Greek mythology that the flowers come from the blood of a beautiful maiden called Amaryllis. This Amaryllis girl is said to fall in love with a handsome shepherd who thinks his plants are more beautiful than any girl in the world. Now, that is a one romantic-yet-stupid young man. He surely hadn’t seen me. Back to the Amaryllis girl, the story says that the shepherd doesn’t pay attention to her or to any girl in the village. He is not married, nor gay, so I think there must be something wrong with the girls in his village that makes him uninterested in them.

The story continues that Amaryllis wants the man so bad to pay attention to her so she goes to a wise man for an advice. The story calls the wise man a priest. We might call him dukun, here. The wise man tells her to go to the shepherd’s house for 30 days to get his attention. Of course, as in any romantic myth, the shepherd is not interested in her -still- for 29 days although the girl drags herself (in shame?) and bleeds (in stupidity) each day for 29 days.

On the 30th day, when this Amaryllis girl once again goes to the shepherd’s house, she notices beautiful red flowers on the spots where her blood is spilled. Now, at this point, I believe the shepherd is either blind for not paying attention to those flowers in his front yard, or simply a hermit who never goes out of his house. Anyway, the girl picks all the flowers and bring them to knock on the shepherd’s door for the 30th time. This time magic happens. Although it’s a little too late. The shepherd’s attention to the flowers makes him think that the girl is also beautiful and he agrees to marry her. He also names the flowers Amaryllis. And fortunately, Amaryllis’ wounds from 29 days dragging herself to his house also heals. Happily ever after for Amaryllis and the shepherd, and all of us inherit this beautiful flower called Amaryllis.

But, hey, why did he get to pick the name for the flower?!

Okay, back to reality. If you want to know how to plant this flower, you might want to go here, or here. If you want to know how the real Amaryllis looks like, check here.

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