We have a new stock of an Amana species from a nursery in China which came to us originally as A. edulis. We bought them, however on assumption that they are certainly not A. edulis! For a start the pollen is bright yellow, the flowers are tinged externally with red and the stems appear to be simple (unbranched) and each stem bears a solitary flower. None of these features are characteristic of A. edulis. The naming in Amana is complex and changing often, as research in China uncovers new species, the count is presently at 5 species .
We are tentatively calling this stock A. anhuiensis, which will be hopefully confirmed next spring. This makes a very small bulb 1.5cm (-2cm) across at most and the bulbs are surrounded by thinly papery, brown tunics which, importantly, are villous inside (covered with a soft felt of long soft hairs). The stems are 15-25cm tall and have no hairs, they are unbranched but have two, opposite leaves set either side. There are three, ribbon-like, 1mm-5mm long bracts at the top of the flowering stems, these are lost at around flowering time though you can see them in one of our photographs.
The flowers are borne on a long stem and are solitary and funnel-shaped with white petals, contrasting well with the long, bright yellow anthers and the flowers have red stripes and lines on the exterior. This combination of colours is quite exciting for the genus Amana and is far brighter than anything that we have seen previously. Flowering is early, February or March is normal and like the other species in this genus, the fruits which follow (in the form of 3-sided, 2cm-long capsules) can be set and ripe by April.
This is a relatively new species, from Anhui in China where 3 of the most recently described species of Amana come from. It grows there wild but it is also grown commercially for the medicinal trade. Its natural wild habitat is mostly moist bamboo forests or meadows with elevations ranging from 600m to 800m. In cultivation, it grows happily in a pot or pan of loam-based but humus-rich compost with good drainage, but it does not need a hard summer bake. We have not tried it outside yet, though the indications are that it would do well and once the stock increases we shall be trying this.
Introduced to our lists September 2017.