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Caliphruria tenera (Amazon lily)

A bulbous herb with small white flowers, Caliphruria tenera has not been recorded in the wild since 1853, and is now considered to possibly be extinct.
Dried specimen of Caliphruria tenera

Dried specimen of Caliphruria tenera collected in Colombia in 1844.

Species information

Scientific name: 

Caliphruria tenera Bak.

Common name: 

Amazon lily (although the common name ‘Amazon lily’ is applied to all species in the genera Caliphruria and Eucharis, neither of which actually belong to the lily family (Liliaceae)).

Conservation status: 

Critically Endangered (CR) and considered Possibly Extinct according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Understorey of primary rainforest, in highly fertile soils.

Key Uses: 

None known, but the related C. subedentata is cultivated as an ornamental.

Known hazards: 

None known.


Genus: Caliphruria

About this species

The genus Caliphruria contains four species of small, bulbous, perennial herbs with white funnel shaped flowers. One species (C. korsakoffii) is native to Peru, and the other three (C. tenera, C. hartwegiana and C. subedentata) are restricted to Colombia. C. tenera possesses the smallest flowers of the Colombian species. It is readily distinguished by its lack of leaves at the time of flowering and the long teeth of the androecium (male sexual organs) which greatly exceed the six short, free filaments. C. tenera is known from only two pressed and dried specimens collected over 150 years ago. The first specimen was collected in 1844 by the French explorer Justin Goudot (with no collection number), and the second in 1853 by the Colombian botanist José Triana (collection number 1289). No further specimens are known, and C. tenera is now considered to be extinct. All members of the genera Caliphruria and Eucharis are known by the common name ‘Amazon lily’.


Eucharis tenera, Urceolina tenera


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