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.

Lilium chalcedonicum L.

Fully hardy, stem-rooting lily with spirally arranged, lance-shaped leaves, to 12cm long, with silver hairy margins, and racemes of up to 12 unpleasantly scented, bright red turkscap flowers, to 8cm across, in summer.  To 1.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

across, in summer.  To 1.5m.  [RHSE, Hortus].

‘This species is best known in the nurseries by the name of the Scarlet Martagon; but as it is not the Martagon of Linnaeus, to avoid confusion, it will be most proper to adhere to the name which Linnaeus has given it.

It is a native not only of Persia, but of Hungary; Professor Jacquin, who has figured it in his most excellent Flora Austriaca, describes it as growing betwixt Carniola and Carinthia, and other parts of Hungary, but always on the tops of the largest mountains.  It varies in the number of its flowers, from one to six, and the colour in some is found of a blood red.

Authors differ in their ideas of its smell: Jacquin describing it as disagreeable, while Scopoli compares it to that of an orange.  It flowers in June and July; and is propagated by offsets, which it produces pretty freely, and which will grow in almost any soil or situation.  The best time for removing the roots is soon after the leaves are decayed, before they have begun to shoot.’  [BM t.30/1790].

Introduced to Britain in 1796.  [JD].  Figured by Redouteé in his Liliacées.  [Redouteé L pl.276/1802-15].  The plant figured by Redouteé as Lilium pomponium is Lilium chalcedonicum.  [BM t.798/1804].  BF p.209/1840.

History at Camden Park

The only reference to this plant is a handwritten entry in a copy of the 1850 catalogue held at the Mitchell Library, inscribed on the front Wm. Macarthur, 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML 635.9m].  Certainly grown in the gardens at this time but probably of short duration.


Published Dec 28, 2009 - 10:41 AM | Last updated Jan 07, 2010 - 01:19 PM

Figured are lance-shaped leaves stem leaves and nodding, orange turk's cap flower.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.30, 1790.

Lilium chalcedonicum L. | BM t.30/1790 | BHL

Family Liliaceae
Region of origin

East and south eastern Europe to Middle East

  • Lilium heldreichii Freyn. 
Common Name

Scarlet turkscap, Scarlet martagon

Name in the Camden Park Record

Lilium chalcedonicum 

Confidence level high