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.

Bifrenaria harrisoniae (Hook.) Reichb.f.

Frost-tender epiphytic orchid with pseudobulbs bearing 1 large, apical leaf and 1 or 2 large, long lasting, waxy, creamy-white flowers, sometimes flushed with red, with a red-purple lip, in winter or spring.  [RHSD, Pridgeon].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘From an inspection of the specimen from which Dr. Hooker’s figure of his Dendrobium Harrisoniae was taken, we have ascertained that it is the same as the plant now published, notwithstanding the difference in the colour of their flowers.  The plant which Dr. Hooker examined appears to have been in a less vigorous state of health than that before us, and to have produced only one flower, instead of two, or probably a greater number.  A native of South America.  The plant from which our drawing was taken was kindly communicated by William Cattley, Esq., from his Conservatory at Barnet.  A robust stove parasite, flowering in September.’  [BR f.897/1825].

‘This beautiful plant, which I had the pleasure of naming in compliment to Mrs. Arnold Harrison of Aigburgh. […] Mr. Lindley has rightly determined this plant to belong to the Genus Maxillaria.  As to the species, it varies with one or two flowers on the scape, and these flowers are certainly among the largest of the Genus.  They yield too, a faint scent resembling that of the Primrose.’  [BM t.2927/1829].  

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [O.38/1850].  Obtained from Loddiges’ Nursery, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in 1849.  [ML A1980-3]. 


Published Jan 26, 2010 - 02:51 PM | Last updated Jan 26, 2010 - 02:57 PM

Shown are the large, apical leaf and waxy, creamy-white flowers with a red-purple lip. Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2927, 1829.

Bifrenaria harrisoniae (Hook.) Reichb.f. | BM t.2927/1829 | BHL

Family Orchidaceae
Region of origin


  • Maxillaria harrisoniae Lindl.
  • Dendrobium harrisoniae Hook.
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Maxillaria Harrisoniae 

Confidence level high