There are always photos of amaryllis cultivars floating around that stir desire among collectors, if for no other reason their lack of easy commercial availability. I’m not only talking about the countless images of cut flower varieties that are perennially pined for with little hope of aquisition (I’m looking at you ‘Hawaii’, ‘Severina’, ‘Nairobi’, ‘Passion’, ‘Pirouette’ etc., etc., etc.) save for the sporadic and limited surprises afforded us by Royal Colors the past few years.
The Hadeco varieties from South Africa are actually grown and processed by the breeding house itself rather than various licensees. Whether routed through the Netherlands, or direct shipped here, there are limited outlets via which the company’s stock can be obtained, with the exception of a few older clones like ‘Intokazi’ which probably have long expired trademarks. So, for the newer varieties posted to their site, we must simply wait for production by Hadeco to be ramped up, and availablity to made by favored mail order suppliers.
The boldly bicolored ‘Lucky Strike’ and exotically twisted ‘Thai Thai’ have been teased on Hadeco’s website for several years, stirring lust in many, Emaryllis included. In the 2015 season, New Hampshire based Living Gardens seemed to offer ‘Lucky Strike’, but luck was not on the buyer’s side at all. Every bulb of ‘Lucky Strike’ purchased turned out to be the double greenish ‘Jungle Bells’. Purchasing a ‘Jungle Bells’ bulb netted the inexplicable result of ‘Baby Doll’! So….when Living Gardens posted the offer of ‘Thai Thai’ this (2016) season, a weary state of caution was warranted. Once again, the rollout was anything but smooth. Apparently the importer was notified by the supplier shortly after the bulbs arrived on our shores that they were one part of a mixed shipment. It would seem that ‘Thai Thai’ was included within a veritable tossed salad of other Hadeco hybrids. Living Gardens then offered the bulbs at half price (under US $5.00 ea.) for those willing to gamble. Naturally, Emaryllis took the bait; and in actuality they did manage to deliver some quantity of ‘Thai Thai’ to North American customers for the first time. The hitch was that one needed to buy several bulbs to have a decent chance at obtaining hippeastrum happiness. Of the six total bulbs purchased, the eventual results were:
2 ‘Thai Thai’
1 ‘Jade Serpent’
While efforts to divine which variety was which in the bulb stage merely humbled Emaryllis, in retrospect we can see that certain cultivars do indeed have bulbs of differing shapes and sometimes tunic colors.
For Emaryllis, the journey to find this long sought variety was easily worth the price. It is one of the most entertaining of amaryllis hybrids yet witnessed, and its charms are many. ‘Thai Thai’ is one of a few cultivars to exhibit a habit of keeping its tepal tips joined for an extended period as the flower opens. This accentuates the writhing nature of the tepals once open, and adds an extended drumroll to the process of watching each bloom develop. Cut flower selection ‘Octopussy’ might behave in the same manner, but hopes of seeing it enter the dry bulb trade seem dim, so this is the only game in town for now!
All in all, Emaryllis is delighted to get even two examples of this fascinating Hadeco gem into the collection. Hopefully next season will see it offered without mix-ups to those of us discerning something with character that is at once beautiful and truly exotic.