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.

Alstroemeria pulchella L.f.

The identification of Macarthur’s Alstroemeria psittacina  and Alstroemeria pulchella presents some difficulties. It is possible that Alstroemeria pulchella L.f. is the correct identification for both plants although they probably differed somewhat in appearance. Another possibility is that Macarthur’s A. pulchella was Alstroemeria ligtu subsp. simsii (Spreng) Ehr.Bayer, which see.

Frost-hardy, tuberous-rooted perennial with mauve-spotted stems and green flowers overlaid with red, in summer.  To 1m.  [RHSE, Hortus].


Horticultural & Botanical History

First botanically described as Alstroemeria pulchella by Linnaeus fils in 1782 [Suppl. Pl. p.206/1782]. Described under the name Alstroemeria psittacina by Lehman in 1826 [Semina in Horto Botanico Hamburgensi 17/1826], the name by which it is still commonly known in the nursery trade.

‘This plant [Alstroemeria psittacina] has flowered in the greenhouse both in the Edinburgh and Glasgow Botanic Gardens, having been received from its original describer, Professor Lehmann of Hamburgh.  It is said to be a native of Mexico, and is certainly well deserving a place in every collection from the singular colour of its flowers.  In Mr. Barclay’s garden at Bury Hill it has blossomed in the open border.’  [BM t.3033/1830]. 

‘[Alstroemeria psittacina is] Said to be a native of Mexico; but we know not upon what authority.  We should rather have suspected it to be a Brazilian or Chilian, for no true Alstroemeria has yet been described from Mexico; the only species at present recorded as a certain native of that country belonging to the genus Bomarea, which by no means ought to be confounded with Alstroemeria.’  [BR f.1540/1832]. 

Introduced to Britain in 1829.  [JD].  OFG f.183/1854.  LBC no.1666/1832.


History at Camden Park

Introduced to the gardens before 1843.  Listed in all published catalogues [B.27/1843].  Alstroemeria psittacina was ticked in a copy of the Horticultural Register, November 1831.  Although this originally belonged to James Bowman, later passing to his uncle William Macarthur, it is likely that this plant was grown by the extended Macarthur family, probably including William, earlier than 1843.  Well established in the gardens today.  Readily naturalises in gardens under appropriate conditions and can become a difficult to eradicate weed. 



Published Jan 11, 2009 - 02:51 PM | Last updated Apr 03, 2012 - 04:55 PM

The image depicts, stem, leaves and funnel-shaped flowers, red outside, green lips.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.3033, 1830.

Alstroemeria pulchella L.f. | BM t.3033/1830 as Alstroemeria psittacina | BHL


Family Alstroemeriaceae
Region of origin


  • Alstroemeria psittacina Lehm.
  • Alstroemeria atrorubra Ravenna
  • Alstroemeria banksiana M.Roem.
  • Alstroemeria hassleriana Baker
  • Lilavia psittacina (Lehm.) Raf.

Common Name

Red and green Peruvian lily, Parrot lily

Name in the Camden Park Record

Alstroemeria Psittacina 


Confidence level high