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.

Aristea capitata (L.) Ker-Gawl.

A half-hardy, clump-forming, evergreen perennial with lance-shaped leaves and dense spikes of saucer-shaped blue or purple flowers in summer.  To 1.5m.  [RHSE, CECB, Hortus].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Large and ornamental, with a stem from two to four feet high, nearly twice the length of the leaves. […] Is now pretty common in our gardens.’  [BM t.605/1802].  ‘With us its beautiful flowers are produced in July and August: the stem is from two to three feet in height. […] If the pot is placed in a pan of water during the flowering season, it improves the blossoms very much.’  [LBC no.1174/1827].  Aristea capitata was introduced to Britain in 1790.  [JD].  ABR pl.160/1801.  

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.44/1843].


Aristea capitata Bak. (1892) = Aristea macrocarpa G.Lewis.  It has a fan of lance-shaped leaves and pale blue flowers in summer.  To 1.5m.  [Rice].  This is not Macarthur’s plant.

Published Feb 15, 2009 - 04:13 PM | Last updated Jul 23, 2010 - 11:42 AM

The image shows sword-shaped leaves and a spike of bright blue flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.605, 1802.

Aristea capitata (L.) Ker-Gawl. | BM t.605/1802 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Aristea major Andr.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Aristea capitata 

Confidence level high