Blooming spectacularly in many gardens and at the Silvermine River Wetlands is the Amaryllis belladonna – Belladonna Lily, March Lily,  – AMARYLLIDACEAE – (Daffodil Family)


 Amaryllis belladonna – or Belladonna Lily – is a bulbous geophyte, native to the Western Cape and flowering from February to April. The inflorescence has 2 to 10 trumpet-shaped scented flowers ranging in colour from pale to deep rose-pink.


MaartlelieAmarylis 1

When the flower dies down, 6 to 12 strap-shaped leaves with rounded tips emerge.The leaves remain green throughout winter before dying back when the plant becomes dormant in summer. Seeds are dispersed by wind before the first winter rains. The plants are propagated in gardens from seed or by the division of the bulbs.


In its natural habitat the Amaryllis belladonna grows in clumps amongst rocks.They flower prolifically after fires. Although there is uncertainty about what insects pollinate the plants, it is thought that on the Cape Peninsula the main pollinators are bees.Its main enemy is the lily borer, a striped black and yellow caterpillar that bores into the stems and bulbs.

You will find the March Lily in many places round the Silvermine Wetlands.


Amaryllis belladonna or March Lilies at the Silvermine River Wetlands. Photo provided by Evanne Rothwell

Amaryllis = A pretty shepherdess mentioned by Theocritus, Virgil, Ovid and Milton.

Belladonna = mod. L > Beautiful Lady

Info provided by Sheila Robinson and expanded upon from