Scadoxus Plant: Relative of an Amaryllis

I have had this plant for several years. This is the first time it has sent up this strange looking blossom. I would love to know what it is.

Hi Kathy,

Your plant is a bulb plant called a Scadoxus. It looks like a Scadoxus multiflorus, commonly called blood lily. Scadoxus is a member of the Amaryllis Family of plants and is a poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants houseplant so please keep it away from small children and pets. Unlike regular Amaryllis bulbs and plants that, with the proper care, can bloom year after year during the holiday season, it often takes up to 10 years for a Scadoxus plant to bloom. Each Scadoxus bulb usually produces 6″-8″ long, thick leaves every year. If you are lucky, your Scadoxus Plant may also produce one flower per season.  The flower head is a round and about the size of a small ball. The flower of a Scadoxus Plant is made up of hundreds of tiny florets, each strand it topped with yellow tipped stamens. A more popular Scadoxus variety is the S.Multifloris or Blood Lily pictured below (photo is from the Missouri Botanical Garden). Scadoxus bulbs, unlike many other Plant BulbsSome indoor and outdoor plants are grown from bulbs. Plant Bulbs, swollen underground stems with scaley leaves, store food and provide energy for the plants we see above ground. They are also used for propagation. Bulbs should be planted deep enough in the soil so that they are totally covered. How deep you plant the bulb, depends upon the plant variety. There are true bulbs and there are rhizomes, corms, and tubers that are sometimes included as types of bulbs. Bulb plants that keep their leaves all year are used as houseplants. Bulb plants that lose their leaves after they flower and become dormant are usually used as outdoor plants. Certain environmental conditions, such as the change in temperature from winter to spring, encourage bulb plants to produce flowers. Once the plant has finished flowering and is only a green leafy plant, the plant rests for a few months. During this time, the bulb absorbs and stores nutrients from the soil to help the plant flower again the following year. Some indoor plants that grow from bulbs are: amaryllis, calla lily, caladium (tubers), False Shamrock plant (Oxalis triangularis), begonia (tubers), and cyclamen (corms), cyclamen (tubers).,  do not like to have their roots disturbed. When it is time to give the plant a rest, so it can regrow the following year, just move your Scadoxus to a cool dry area and cut back on your watering. Scadoxus Plants also like to be root-bound so don’t be in a rush to move it to a larger pot. Always keep in mind that a Scadoxus is a poisonousPlants are a great addition to homes and offices, but it’s important to know whether your plants are dangerous to children, pets, or even adults. Some plants contain chemicals such as oxalates, solanine, glycosides, or alkaloid lycorine that may cause vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, swelling and redness of the mouth, throat, and lips, and trouble breathing. Touching parts of certain plants, especially the sap, may cause various skin irritations. The weight and age of the human or pet involved, and the part and amount of plant eaten determine how severe the reaction to the toxins will be. Although plants may be listed as non-toxic, they can still cause individual allergic reactions. If there is any question after a houseplant has been ingested or touched, immediately call the Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222.  More poisonous houseplant information and pictures of common plants that are dangerous to children and pets can be found in my book Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants houseplant so be very careful where you move it.