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.

Achimenes ‘Venusta’

Achimenes ‘Venusta’ is a hybrid between Achimenes erecta (Lam.) H.P.Fuchs. var. rosea and Achimenes patens Benth. Bred by Backhouse and Sons of York,  A. venusta has rich violet-purple flowers, spotted with brown.  [GRA p.38].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

The Floricultural Cabinet provides some details on its background: ‘A hybrid which it is supposed was raised between patens and rosea, the flowers being as small as rosea, but the colour and richness of patens.  It is in Messrs. Backhouse’s collection at York, and a beautiful addition to the lovely tribe.’  [FC p.245/1847].  Paxton's Magazine of Botany gave a more detailed description: ‘A. venusta is somewhat larger than the others [a number of hybrids were reviewed], apparently raised between A. rosea and A. patens, and partakes, in a medium way, of both its parents in size and colour, which is an intense purplish lilac, bright yellow in the throat.  It is a prolific bloomer, foliage small dark green tinged with reddish purple beneath.’  [MB p.214/1847].  The Gardeners' Chronicle described A. venusta and A. floribunda elegans as ‘two exceedingly beautiful hybrids, which, for neat, compact, dwarf habit, profusion of bloom, chaste outline, richness of colour, easy culture, and adaptation to small collections, will prove universal favourites; and amongst the smallest of free-flowering plants, are models of perfection in all the desirable features of pot plants.’  [Gard. Chron. 1848].  According to Johnson's Dictionary it was introduced to cultivation in 1847 or 1848.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.18/1850].  Obtained from Kew Gardens, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in 1849.  In the confirmatory list sent by Macarthur to King it is marked with an ‘o’, meaning new to the colony.  [ML A1980-3].  It was also requested of James Backhouse on 1st February, 1849 but not recorded as received.  [MP A2933-1 p.183].  James Backhouse was a friend and regular correspondent of William Macarthur.


Published Aug 26, 2009 - 05:18 PM | Last updated Aug 24, 2011 - 04:59 PM

Family Gesneriaceae
Region of origin
Common Name

Achimenes, Hot water plant, Cupid’s bow

Name in the Camden Park Record

Achimenes venusta 

Confidence level high