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.

Adenosma grandiflorum Benth. ex Hance

Frost tender herbaceous perennial with opposite, wrinkled ovate leaves, to 5cm or more long, and single, axillary fox-glove-like violet flowers.  To 90cm.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This desirable perennial has been lately introduced into our gardens from China, by Mr. Fortune, who “found it growing on hill sides and near streams in the Island Of Hong-Kong.”  [In 1845].  It is of easy cultivation, and will grow freely in any light soil where it has good drainage.’  [MB p.74/1847].  ‘This is one of the new introductions by the Horticultural Society.  It was received from Mr. Fortune, who described it as a blue flowered herbaceous plant growing on hill sides and near streams, on the island of Hong-Kong.  It is however only new to our gardens, for it seems to have been one of the earliest species brought in a dried state from China, being common about Macao and the adjacent islands.  One of our wild specimens, collected by the Rev. Mr. Vachell in July, 1829, has a close spike of flowers from the axil of every leaf, and if cultivators can get it into that state, it will become very ornamental. […] It has hitherto been treated as a stove plant, but will probably prove hardy enough to stand in a greenhouse.  It appears to grow freely in almost any sort of soil, especially sandy peat.  In summer shading in sunny weather is necessary.  In consequence of its being subject to damp off in winter, it will require to be kept rather dry for a few weeks and in fact it will probably be found necessary to give it but little water at any time.  It will be well too to keep it in small pots, otherwise it becomes all foliage; this is the only probable means of inducing it to flower abundantly.  Its leaves are agreeably sweet-scented.’  [BR f.16/1846]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [H.205/1850].


Published Sep 24, 2009 - 03:39 PM | Last updated Feb 18, 2010 - 05:02 PM

Figured are wrinkled ovate leaves and single, axillary fox-glove-like violet flowers.  Botanical Record f.16, 1846.

Adenosma grandiflorum Benth. ex Hance | BR f.16/1846 | RBGS

Family Scrophulariaceae
Region of origin

Hong Kong

  • Pterostigma grandiflorum Benth.
  • Gerardia glutinosa L.
  • Digitalis chinensis Hook. & Arn. 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Pterostigma grandiflora 

Confidence level high