The genus Zephyranthes belongs to Family Amaryllidaceae
) and not
the Liliaceae family (百合科).
Closely allied to genera Cooperia and Habranthus, Zephyranthes comprises 50 - 70 species which are native mainly to tropical Americas from Florida and Texas through Mexico and Guatemala to Brasil and north-eastern Argentina. The genus is not presented naturally in Chile. Its centres of distribution are Mexico, Argentina and Brasil. Zephyranthes viridilutea, which is endemic to Bolivia, hails from above 3,000 m on the Andes.
Zephyranthes is widely known as "Zephyr Flower" or "West Wind Flower". In Taiwan, the genus receives its common name 蔥蘭 or 韭蘭, and in Hong Kong, it is known as 風雨蘭. The most popular species under cultivation in Hong Kong include Zephyranthes candida, Z. grandiflora and Z. rosea, these are all native to tropical South America. Less commonly cultivated species in Hong Kong include: Z. tubiflorus, Z. reginae and Z. citrinus.
It is believed that flowering of Zephyranthes harbingers a rainy weather. Although I am not aware of any scientific proof of the observation, the close relationship between flowering of certain species of genus Cyrtanthus (commonly known as "Fire Lily" which is native to southern Africa) in response to bush fires has been well established. In the case of Cyrtanthus, fire and smoke encourage development of flower buds by creating an environmental stress through sudden increase in soil and atmospheric temperature. With respect to Zephyranthes, it might be that flowering is a biological response to sudden change in barometric pressure associated with the formation of water droplets in the atmosphere. It takes anything from 3 days to about 2 weeks for a Zephyranthes seed pod to mature. The flowering strategy adopted by Zephyranthes certainly ensures that at the time when seeds are dispersed, the soil in the surrounding area still contains sufficient moisture for germination.
: Zephyranthes is generally very easy to maintain in cultivation. Yet, the foliage is often infected with mealy bugs and/or red spider mites. Systematic spraying is recommended to keep these pests at bay. Bulbs should be cultivated in well-drained soil to minimise the chance of bulb rot. Given a sunny position and never let bulbs dry out, Zephyranthes can make a most rewarding pot plant / flower bed subject.
Further details of Zephyranthes can be viewed at:
http://www.bulbsociety.org/GALLE ... hyrantheslist.shtml