Amaryllis belladonna is so common in northern California that people think it is native to this area. It is actually native to the Cape Province of South Africa, but has been widely planted as an ornamental. It used to be a "pass along" plant, something that would multiply and be shared among neighbors, and it can be found in great patches on abandoned farms in California. It is often planted around here in long rows, probably done so with a plow or backhoe digging a trench, and there is one such planting not too far away that is magnificent, about three feet wide and at least fifty or sixty feet long. It is so common that local people often treat it with contempt. I gathered some once that a neighbor had thrown over her fence. She said I could have them, she didn't want them. "Oh, those things, you can't get rid of them", she said. Why would you want to? I love them, I love the way the stems burst out of the dry ground and open their dazzling flowers at a time of year when there isn't much to see.
I have to admit, though, that I was tempted last year to get rid of mine. My accountant gave them to me (he, too, was throwing them away), and I wanted the traditional country planting along my picket fence. They were planted some years ago, and I have never got a good display from them, and last year the petals all turned brown at the tips and edges and looked so horrible I cut them off (this might have been from salt burn from the wind). I thought maybe I should just give up and remove them, but I didn't get around to it. Well, about two weeks ago I noticed buds, then multiple stems snaking their way out of the ground. I have the best display ever, and I am so glad I didn't remove them.