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(ăm'ərĭl`ĭs), common name for some members of the Amaryllidaceae, a family of mostly perennial plants with narrow, flat leaves and with lilylike flowers borne on separate, leafless stalks. They are widely distributed throughout the world, especially in flatlands of the tropics and subtropics. Many ornamental plants of this family are mistakenly called lilies; they can be distinguished from members of the lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
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 family (Liliaceae) by the anatomical placement of the ovary (see flowerflower,
name for the specialized part of a plant containing the reproductive organs, applied to angiosperms only. A flower may be thought of as a modified, short, compact branch bearing lateral appendages.
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) and are considered more advanced in evolution than the lilies. Sometimes the amaryllis family is included in the Liliaceae.

Several fragrant, showy-blossomed species are commonly called amaryllis: the true amaryllis (Amaryllis belladonna), or belladonna lily, of S Africa, and the more frequently cultivated tropical American species of Sprekelia, Lycoris, and especially Hippeastrum (e.g., the Barbados lily). The large Narcissus genus, including jonquils and daffodils, is native chiefly to the Mediterranean region, but it has been naturalized and is now widespread in the United States. Although the common names are sometimes used interchangeably, strictly the daffodil is the yellow N. pseudo-narcissus, with a long, trumpet-shaped central corona; the jonquil is the yellow N. jonquilla, with a short corona; and the narcissus is any of several usually white-flowered species, e.g., the poet's narcissus (N. poetica) with a red rim on the corona. The biblical rose of Sharonrose of Sharon,
common name for several plants, especially Hibiscus syriacus, of the family Malvaceae (mallow family), and for St.-John's-wort, i.e., any species of the genus Hypericum of the family Hypericaceae (St.-John's-wort family).
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 may have been a narcissus. Among many others that have become naturalized and are cultivated in Europe and North America are the snowdrops (any species of Galanthus), small early-blooming plants of the Old World whose flowers are symbolic of consolation and of promise; and the tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa), a waxy-flowered Mexican plant.

Economically, the most important plants of the family are of the nonbulbous genus Agave, the tropical American counterpart of the African Aloe genus of the family Liliaceae (lily family). Different agaves provide soap (e.g., those called amoles—see soap plantsoap plant,
any of various plants having cleansing properties. A few are of commercial importance, but most soap plants are used locally, as in early times, for toilet and laundry purposes.
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), food and beverages, and hard fiber. Henequen and sisal hempsisal hemp
[from Sisal, former chief port of Yucatan], important cordage fiber obtained from the leaves of the sisal hemp plant, an extensively cultivated tropical agave (family Agavaceae or Liliaceae).
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 are among the fibers obtained from agaves; fique and Cuban hemp come from other similar genera. Maguey is the Mexican name for various species (chiefly A. americana) called American aloe, or century plant, that contain the sugar agavose, sometimes used medicinally but better known as the source of the popular alcoholic beverages pulque and mescal (or mezcal). The name "century plant" arises from the long intervals between bloomings—from 5 to 100 years. After blooming, the century plant dies back and is replaced by new shoots. The blue agave (A. tequilana weber azul) is the maguey used in making tequila. The agave cactus (Leuchtenbergia principis) is a true cactuscactus,
any plant of the family Cactaceae, a large group of succulents found almost entirely in the New World. A cactus plant is conspicuous for its fleshy green stem, which performs the functions of leaves (commonly insignificant or absent), and for the spines (not always
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 that resembles the agave.

Amaryllis is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Liliopsida, Lilliales, Amaryllidaceae.


a favorite subject of pastoral poets. [Rom. Lit.: Eclogues]


1. an amaryllidaceous plant, Amaryllis belladonna, native to southern Africa and having large lily-like reddish or white flowers
2. any of several related plants, esp hippeastrum
References in periodicals archive ?
Magic Amaryllis Snow available on website from [pounds sterling]12 or Amazon from [pounds sterling]12
In the early 1990s, a 5-mm long, solid black weevil was observed feeding on and occasionally killing amaryllis (Amaryllidaceae) plants in Florida, and it was determined to be an unknown genus and species in the subfamily Baridinae (Thomas 2005).
Some of the hippeastrum species are now named as Rhodophiala and others as Worsleya, the Blue Amaryllis.
When forcing paperwhites and amaryllis, you must begin the process in mid-November.
Like Douglas's work, Amaryllis is centrifugal, and it eliminates the panoramic comfort of an opening master shot.
Apart from drawing inspiration from "my new friend", a red kite who flew over her gallops, she was pleased her amaryllis burst into flower on the right day; she told guest Andrew Coonan to head home on Wednesday, as he had when Best Mate won his first Gold Cup; and was relieved the lucky ladybirds appeared on time, as in past years.
Some top autumn flowerers are Crinum macowanii, Scilla scilloides, Cyclamen hederifolium, Amaryllis belladonna, Leucojum autumnalei, Colchicum and Nerine.
Amaryllis, by Starr Ockenga (Clarkson Potter/Publishers, New York, 2002; $20; 866/726-3661), was named Best Book of the Year in 2002 and includes the history and care of amaryllis, plus gorgeous photography by the author.
The amaryllis is best placed next to a sunny, south-facing wall and produces strap-like leaves in spring and pretty fragrant flowers in pink or salmon in September.
For example, lovely full blown roses in mid summer, lilies in early autumn, amaryllis at Christmas, tulips in spring and the graceful of poppies in summer.
Baumgardner and Richards start with a chapter dedicated to a dinner party with some of their feminist buddies, including Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of Bitch and Prozac Nation, Amaryllis Leon, a former Ms.