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.

Scilla peruviana L.

A bulbous perennial with a basal cluster of up to 15, semi-erect, lance-shaped leaves, to 60cm long, and tall, conical racemes of up to 100 star-shaped, reddish or  purplish blue, sometimes white, flowers in summer.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘A native of Portugal; also found in the fields of the Algerine and Tunisian territories by Desfontaines.  Linnaeus must have been induced to give the specific title peruviana, on the authority of Clusius, who received it with the notice of its coming from Peru out of the garden of Everard Munichoven, a botanical dilettante of the day, but who certainly was mistaken in supposing it to have been brought from the above country, and has led both his friend, and through him Linnaeus, into error.’  [BM t.749/1804].  It was supposedly introduced to Britain in 1607.  [JD].  Varieties alba and discolor also exist, the latter figured at BR f.48/1843 and OFG f.165/1854, shown with pale brownish flowers with contrasting bright blue stamens. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.362/1843].


Another possibility is Scilla bifolia L., synonym Scilla praecox Willd., another species from the Mediterranean region.  It has bright blue flowers in spring.  [RHSD, Hortus].  Introduced to Britain in 1790.  [JD]. ‘Varies with blue, white, and pink flowers.  A native of England, but rare, and only found in some woody spots in the West; common about Paris and in the more southern parts of Europe.’  [BM t.746/1804].  OFG f.81/1854.  LBC no.283/1818. 

Published Jan 09, 2010 - 04:19 PM | Last updated Jan 09, 2010 - 05:06 PM

Figured is a lance-shaped leaf and dense spike of star-shaped purple flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.749, 1804.

Scilla peruviana L. | BM t.749/1804 | BHL

Family Hyacinthaceae
Region of origin

Mediterranean region

  • Ornithogalum speciosum Raf. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Ornithogalum sp. purple 

Confidence level low