The Hippeastrum genus comprises around 80 species within the Amaryllidaceae family, which also includes two other well-known bulbous crops: Narcissus and Galanthus. Hippeastrum is native to tropical and subtropical regions of South America.

Considerable confusion has always surrounded the correct naming of this plant with many breeders, growers and traders persisting in referring to the plant incorrectly as ‘Amaryllis’. During the 1820s, British botanist, Dean Herbert (1778–1847), showed Amaryllis (native to Cape Province in South Africa) and Hippeastrum (also known as Knight’s Star Lily) to be fundamentally different botanically and assigned them to different genera.