This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(Greek, curved flowers; from their pendulous habit). Amaryllidaceae. Tender bulbs from South Africa, known only in a few American greenhouses.
Flowers umbellate, pendulous or erect, usually red or white with green stripes; stamens inserted in the tube of the corolla; ovary 3-celled, crowded with numerous ovules, the seeds flat. - Species 20. Their cult, is like that of hemanthus and many other bulbs from the same region. They are suitable for pot culture, or for planting out in summer. The following analytical key gives an idea of the group, and its 3 subgenera.
a. Flowers many in an umbel, pendulous.
B. Leaves strap-shaped. (Cyrtanthus proper.)
Ait. Bulb ovoid, 3-4 in. thick: leaves 10-12, strap-shaped, distichous, produced after the flowers, l 1/2-2 ft. long: scape 1-2 ft. long, stout, mottled; flowers 10-12 in an umbel, entirely drooping, odorless, bright red, with more or less yellow, and greenish tips 2-3 in. long; pedicels 1/2-l in. long; style not exserted. Cape Colony. B. M. 1133. L.B.C. 10:947.
bb. Leaves linear. (Monella.)
Mackenii, Hook. f. Bulb 1 1/2 in. thick: leaves 2-6, appearing with the flowers, linear, 1 ft. long: scape slender, slightly glaucous; flowers 4-10 in an umbel, pure white, 2 in. long; style exserted. Natal. G.C. 1869:641. Gn. 50, p. 63.
aa. Flowers single, or few in an umbel, erect or slightly curved downward. (Gastronema.)
Hook. Bulb 2 in. thick: leaves 3-4, appearing with the flowers, lanceolate, petioled, 1 ft. long: scape slender, 6-9 in. long; flowers 1-3, bright red, 3-4 1/2in. long, wider funnel-shaped than in the 2 preceding species, with a throat 1 in. across. Caffraria, Natal. B.M. 5218. variety glaucophyllus, Hort. A form with somewhat glaucous foliage and orange-red flowers
C. Hilttonii, Baker, belongs to Cyrtanthus proper, but its leaves appear with the flowers, and it has 6-8 or even 12 pale red flowers about 1 in. long and a much shorter style than in C. obliquus. Cape Col ny. B.M. 7488. Gn. 50:62. - C. inaequalis, O'Brien. Flowers erect, coral-red, borne in umbels on scapes 1 ft. high; upper segments of perianth overhanging. Cape Colony. G.C. III. 37:261. - C. Junodii, Beauverd. Umbel 6-9-flowered; flowers cinnabar, yellow at apex, pendulous. Transvaal. N. Taylor.†