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.

Pistacia lentiscus L.

Half hardy, evergreen, resinous, aromatic shrub or small tree, with pinnate leaves, to 10cm long, composed of up to 7 pairs of leaflets, and dense panicles, to 3cm long, of male flowers, and looser panicles, to 6cm long, of brownish green female flowers, to 6cm long, in spring and summer, followed by blackish fruits.  To 3m by 3m. [RHSE, Hortus].

Pistacia terebinthus L.

Small tree or large shrub with dark, glossy, aromatic, pinnate leaves and green unisexual flowers followed by small reddish-purple fruits.  To 9m or more.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Polygonatum multiflorum (L.) All.

Fully hardy rhizomatous perennial with arching stems bearing from each lower leaf axil up to 6 pendant, tubular green-tipped white flowers, to 1cm long.  To 90cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Primula veris L.

Fully hardy, very variable, rosette-forming evergreen perennial with umbels of nodding, fragrant, deep yellow flowers in late winter and spring.  To 25cm.  There are a number of garden forms.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Primula vulgaris Huds.

Fully hardy, rosette-forming evergreen perennial with clusters of often fragrant, usually pale yellow flowers in late winter and spring. To 20cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Rheum rhaponticum L.

Perennial, rhizomatous herbaceous plant with large, heart-shaped leaves, to 45cm long, on long fleshy stems, and a dense, leafy inflorescence. to 1.8m, with white flowers.  Culinary rhubarb of which there are many garden varieties.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Rhinacanthus nasutus (L.) Kuntze

Straggling shrub with oblong leaves and axillary panicles of downy white flowers.  [RHSD].

Rhus coriaria L.

Hardy, deciduous, small to medium-sized shrub or small tree with pinnate leaves, with up to 21 toothed leaflets. and greenish-white female flowers in loose terminal panicles in summer followed by brownish-purple fruits.  To 3m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Rhus typhina L.

Hardy, deciduous, dioecious, wide-spreading shrub or small tree, the young shoots covered in reddish-brown hairs, the leaves large, pinnate and turning yellow, orange, red or purple in autumn, with large, erect clusters of male flowers, the female flowers followed by hairy crimson fruit.  To 6m or more.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Rosmarinus officinalis L.

Hardy evergreen shrub with downy shoots and opposite, narrow, lance-shaped leaves, dark above and pale beneath.  The pale violet flowers are borne in the leaf axils of the previous years growth.  To 2m.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Salix fragilis L. var. russelliana

A large tree with wide-spreading branches, rugged bark and brittle twigs. the slender catkins appear with the leaves in spring.  To 25m.  It commonly grows with Salix alba L. and hybrids between the two occur naturally.  Intermediate between the parents they are called Salix x rubens Hort.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Salvia officinalis L.

Fully hardy, erect perennial sub-shrub with oblong, grey-green, woolly, aromatic leaves and terminal or axillary racemes of lilac-blue flowers.  To 80cm, spreading.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Sambucus nigra L.

Fully hardy, upright bushy shrub with pinnate leaves, to 25cm long, composed of 5 toothed, ovate leaflets, and flattened panicles, to 20cm across, of small, musk-scented, white flowers in summer, followed by edible, spherical, glossy black fruit.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].

Schinus molle L.

Frost tender, usually broad-headed tree with slender, pendant branches, pinnate leaves, to 30cm long, composed of up to 41 narrow leaflets, and pendant panicles, to 20cm long, of tiny whitish flowers from winter to summer, followed by rose-pink fruit.  To 25m.  Although ostensibly tender it thrives in the Camden district.  [RHSE, Hortus, Hilliers'].  The fruits have been eaten and sold as pink peppercorns.

Sesbania grandiflora (L.) Pers.

Short-lived, soft-wooded tree with pinnate leaves, to 30cm, with up to 30 pairs of leaflets, and racemes of large, pea-like, red, pink or white flowers followed by seed pods to 45cm long.  To 12m.  [RHSD].  Don describes Agati grandiflora Desv. as having yellowish flowers, with white and pink forms also known.  

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