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.

Aloysia triphylla (L‘Hérit.) Britt.

Frost hardy, bushy, upright, deciduous shrub with whorled, narrow, lance-shaped, lemon-scented leaves and tiny, pale lilac to white flowers in slender panicles in late summer.  To 3m.  [RHSE].


Horticultural & Botanical History

‘We learn from Mons. L'Heritier, who has figured and described this plant, in his work above referred to, that it is a native of South-America, from whence it had been transmitted to Spain, in the gardens of which it was cultivated in the open borders; Prof. Ortega, of Madrid, sent both plants and seeds of it to Mons. L'Heritier at Paris, where Dr. Sibthorp obtained it, on his return from Greece, and introduced it here in 1784.  Professors Ortega and Palau first described this plant, and named it Aloysia citrodora, Mons. L'Heritier found it to be a Verbena, and gave it the trivial name of triphylla.  The leaves (or any part of the plant) when bruised, give out a most delightful fragrance; on this account, it is a most valuable acquisition to our gardens: it forms a shrub of a considerable size; the leaves, as far as we have noticed, always grow three together; the veins on each side of the midrib run parallel to each other; the flowers are small, nearly white, forming a panicle, which, as far as our observation has extended (and we have examined many luxuriant specimens) is never branched in the manner represented in L'Heritier’s figure; they are produced during most of the summer and autumnal months.  This shrub, being easily propagated by cuttings, is now become common in the neighbourhood of London, where it is treated as a greenhouse plant; in some parts of this island, especially near the sea, where the winter loses much of its severity, it would, in all probability, succeed very well in the open border.’  [BM t.367/1797].


History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [T.48/1843].



Published Feb 22, 2009 - 02:27 PM | Last updated Oct 21, 2011 - 03:04 PM

Illustrated is a shoot with lance-shaped leaves and tiny white flowers.  Curtis's botanical Magazine t.367, 1797.

Aloysia triphylla (L’Hérit.) Britt. | BM t.367/1797 | BHL


Family Verbenaceae
Region of origin

South America

  • Aloysia citriodora Orteg. ex Pers.
  • Lippia citriodora H.B. & K.
  • Verbena triphylla L’Hérit.


Common Name

Sweet verbena, Lemon verbena

Name in the Camden Park Record

Aloysia citriodora - Common sweet verbena 


Confidence level high