Notice

Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Medicinal Plants

A wide-ranging category, including many of the ancient garden plants. Emphasis is placed on the plants that were probably introduced primarily for their medicinal value.

Juniperus sabina L. var. tamariscifolia Ait.

Fully-hardy, low growing, vigorous, evergreen shrub with horizontal tiers of spreading, short, sharply pointed, mainly juvenile leaves, borne in pairs or threes and bright green.  To 2m.  Tamariscifolia is a naturally occurring variety of Juniperus sabina from the mountains of southern Europe.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Justicia adhatoda L.

Frost tender, usually erect and sparsely branched, evergreen shrub, spreading with age, with elliptic leaves, to 20cm long, and terminal or axillary spikes of tubular-bell-shaped, 2-lipped white flowers, veined red-purple, to 3cm long, mainly in summer.  To 3m.  [RHSE].

Justicia spicigera Schltdl.

Evergreen shrub with large glossy leaves and tubular crimson to orange flowers in one-sided terminal and axillary panicles.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Laurus nobilis L.

Frost hardy, evergreen conical tree or large shrub with glossy, ovate leaves, to 10cm long, and clusters of greenish flowers, to 5mm across, in spring, followed by black berries in female plants. To 12m.  [RHSE, Hortus. Hilliers'].

Lavandula spica Cav.

Hardy sub-shrub with pale grey, downy leaves and terminal spikes of fragrant, tubular, pale grey-blue flowers.  To 1.2m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Lavandula stoechas L.

Fully hardy, compact, bushy shrub with linear, grey-green leaves and dense spikes of fragrant, dark purple flowers, to 3cm long, topped with conspicuous purple bracts on short stalks, in spring and summer.  To 60cm  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Ligustrum vulgare L.

Fully-hardy, bushy, deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub with lance-shaped leaves, to 6cm long, and panicles, to 5cm long, of white flowers in summer, followed by black fruit.  To 3m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Lilium candidum L.

Fully-hardy lily with broad, inversely lance-shaped over-wintering basal leaves appearing in autumn.  In summer stiffly erect stems bear scattered smaller leaves and, in mid-summer, racemes of 5-20 sweetly-scented, trumpet-shaped, pure white flowers with yellowish bases and bright yellow anthers.  To 1.8m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Liquidambar styraciflua L.

Fully hardy, broadly conical, deciduous tree, with palmate, 5-7 lobed, glossy leaves, to 15cm across, which turn orange, red and purple in autumn.  To 25m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Lonicera caprifolium L.

Fully hardy, woody, deciduous, twining climber with paired, oval leaves, to 10cm long, and axillary whorls of tubular, very fragrant, pink-flushed, creamy-white to yellow flowers, in summer. To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Mespilus germanica L.

Fully-hardy, spreading tree or large shrub with alternate, lance-shaped leaves, to 15cm long, and white, sometimes pink-tinged flowers, to 5cm across, in spring and summer, followed by edible, fleshy brown fruit, to 5cm or more across.  To 6m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Morus nigra L.

Fully hardy, rounded tree with ovate, sometimes lobed leaves, to 12cm long, and cylindrical, sweet fruit, to 3cm long, ripening to dark purple in summer.  To 12m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Olea europaea L.

Frost-hardy, slow-growing, evergreen tree, with opposite, leathery, elliptic leaves, to 8cm long, silvery beneath, and axillary panicles of tiny, fragrant, creamy white flowers in summer, followed by edible, ovoid green fruit, ripening to black.  To 10m.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Papaver somniferum L.

Fully hardy, erect annual with solitary, bowl-shaped, pink, mauve-purple, red or white flowers in spring and summer. There are a number of ornamental garden forms, including paeony-flowered hybrids.  Cultivated for the milky sap produced in their seed capsules, the source of opium and its derivatives, such as heroin and morphine and other powerful narcotics and analgesics.  The seeds have also been used for medicinal and culinary purposes since antiquity.  To 1.2m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Phyllanthus emblica L.

A much-branched, frost tender deciduous shrub or small tree with light, elegant foliage, flushed pink when young.  To 15m.  It produces very acid, pectin-rich fruit which are a good source of carbohydrates, vitamin C and minerals.  [RHSD, Hortus].

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