Amaryllis belladonna grows in the South Western Cape. The bulb is typically large, brown and rounded and has a moderate growth rate. The large clusters of scented, trumpet-shaped pink or white flowers are carried on a long purplish-red and green stem appearing 50cm above the soil. Up to twelve flowers are produced from the flowering stem. These flowers are 10cm long and apically flare open about 8cm.Protruding from each flower is a long upturned style amongst a group of large curved anthers. The anthers are black and shiny at first, but split open to reveal masses of sticky white pollen. The inflorescence tends to face the direction that receives the most sun. Although most flowers are pale pink, white and dark pink forms occur.
The strap-like leaves are deciduous and are produced after flowering. The leaves remain green throughout the winter period. The leaves produce a starch, which is stored in the bulb. In summer the leaves die back and the bulb becomes dormant. This strange phenomenon of flowering before the leaves appear is known as hysteranthy. The belladonna lily's specific flowering time is late summer, February and March.
Amaryllis is Greek feminine and is named after a beautiful shepherdess. The specific epithet belladonna means beautiful lady. The appearance of the tall, flower stalk without any leaves accounts for the common name "naked lady". Amaryllis belladonna in its natural habitat is found in small dense groups among rocks. Therefore the best place to plant them would be in a rock garden. In a created landscape, Amaryllis can be used mixed in between blue Agapanthus as a good combination, as the evergreen leaves of the Agapanthus provide skirts for the naked ladies. They can also be grown between a ground cover or mixed annual or herbaceous border.