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.

Brunfelsia calycina Benth. var. confertiflora

Frost tender evergreen shrub with erectly spreading branches, oblong leaves and crowded terminal cymes of bluish-violet or lilac flowers.  To 60cm.  [RHSD, Hortus, Don].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘We continue the genus Franciscea, as sanctioned by Mr. Miers, in the fifth volume, new series, of ‘Annals of Natural History,’ for the blue-flowered species of Brunsfelsia, though we fear Mr. Bentham’s views of the unsoundness of the generic distinction are too true.  We find the present plant figured and described by Mr.Henfrey in the ‘Magazine of Botany,’ under the name of F. confertiflora, and the only synonym given is the Brunsfelsia confertifora of Mr. Bentham, a species with which we are familiar, and of which there exists a splendid figure in Pohl’s ‘Plantarum Brasiliarum Icones:’ but the figure and description are totally at variance with our plant.  It is unquestionably the F. (Brunsfelsia) calycina of Bentham, figured, characteristically enough, in the ‘Flora Fluminensis,’ and well distinguished by the large inflated calyx and other characters.  As we are indebted for our plant to Messrs. Lucombe, Pince, and Co., Exeter Nursery, who received it from Belgium.’  [BM t.4583/1851].

Paxton’s Magazine of Botany figured it under the name Franciscea acuminata: ‘Conspicuous for a great symmetry and elegance of habit, which in conjunction with its numerous acuminate leaves, bunches of violet-blue flowers, the latter borne with tolerable freedom, and on plants of very small dimension, invest it with a well-merited share of interest.  We know of no genus of stove plants more appropriate for a small collection, than that of Franciscea, and none better calculated to afford satisfaction to the amateur.’  [MB p.27/1846]. 

‘This fine species [Franciscea confertiflora] is well worth a place in every stove, on account of its handsome trusses of deep lilac flowers, and excellent habit.  Leaves are a handsome fleshy dark green, waved, and rather longer than those of F. latifolia.’  The plant described was 60cm high and 70cm in diameter.  [Gard. Chron. 1851].  ‘This fine stove plant of comparatively recent introduction [is] a first rate addition to this useful genus.  Its great heads of pale blue or lilac flowers, each measuring one and a half inches across, when produced in profusion, have a really striking effect.’  [Gard. Chron 1853]. 

The genus Franciscea was named for Francis I of Austria by J. B. E. Pohl who lived between 1782 and 1834.  Introduced to Britain in 1840.  [JD].  Figured in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine as Franciscea acuminata [BM t.4189/1845].  This is the figure used as illustration here.

History at Camden Park

Listed only in the 1857 catalogue [T.453/1857].  Plants were obtained from the Sydney Botanic Garden on 17th October 1853.  [RBGS AB].


The synonymy of the plants listed by Macarthur as Franciscea is somewhat complex, particularly the relationship between the many forms of Brunfelsia calycina and B. acuminata.  In the Hortus three plants, Franciscea confertiflora, F. eximia and F. pohliana are recorded as varieties or forms of F. calycina.

Published Feb 27, 2010 - 02:56 PM | Last updated Feb 27, 2010 - 03:06 PM

Shown are oblong leaves and crowded terminal cyme of salverform bluish-violet flowers.  Curtis' Botanical Magazine t.4189, 1845.

Brunfelsia calycina Benth. var. confertiflora | BM t.4189/1845 as Franciscea acuminata | BHL

Family Solanaceae
Region of origin


  • Franciscea acuminata Pohl.
  • Franciscea calycina Hook.
  • Franciscea confertiflora Pohl.
  • Franciscea pohliana Hort. ex J.A.Schmidt
  • Brunfelsia ramosissima Benth.
  • Brunfelsia ramosissima f. confertiflora (Pohl) J.A.Schmidt
  • Brunfelsia acuminata (Pohl) Benth. f. ramosissima (Benth. ex DC) Voss
  • Brunfelsia grandiflora D.Don
  • Brunfelsia calycina f. grandiflora (D.Don) Voss
  • Brunfelsia lindeniana (Planch.) G.Nicholson
  • Brunfelsia brasiliensis (Spreng.) L.B.Sm. & Downs 
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Franciscea confertiflora 

Confidence level high