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.

Brunonia australis R.Br.

Half hardy perennial rock plant with hairy leaves to 4.5cm long in a basal rosette, and blue flowers in terminal, pincushion-like heads, to 2.5cm across.  To 25cm.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Although introduced in 1834, and in all respects a most interesting little plant, it is not yet known in the majority of places;-an inference which we feel authorised to make from its not being ordinarily cultivated.  The extreme neatness and prettiness of its habits, the simple beauty as well as the vivid blue colour of its blossoms, their liberal production, and the ease with which the species is grown, all present claims on the culturalists attention; and those who, from their united influence, determine to procure, and to treat it with common care, will not regret either its cost, or the trifling trouble it requires.’  [MB p.267/1840]. 

‘A most interesting new perennial, introduced by Mr. James Backhouse in 1834.  The drawing was made from specimens supplied by Mr. Lowe of Clapton, and I have also received it from the Messrs. Backhouses of York.  In appearance it is very like our wild Scabiouses, but it is delightfully fragrant.  It no doubt requires the protection of a frame in winter, and would probably be more at home in such a place, or in a cool greenhouse even during the summer; and the general neatness of its appearance renders it peculiarly well adapted for such a mode of cultivation.  I presume it will be easily increased by partition of the crown of the root.’  [BR f.1833/1836].  The Floricultural Cabinet also noted that ‘Mr. James Backhouse, of York, having been for some time in Van Diemen’s Land, has introduced this plant into this country.’  [FC p.63/1836].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues only [H.32/1850].  Found in the Blue Mountains of NSW, where one of its common names is ‘Blackheath bell’.  [Beadle].  Macarthur probably obtained it locally.


Published Feb 05, 2009 - 05:03 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2010 - 05:37 PM

Shown is a a basal rosette of leaves, and blue flowers in a terminal, pincushion-like head.  Botanical Register f.1833, 1836.

Brunonia australis R.Br. | BR f.1833/1836 | BHL

Family Goodeniaceae
Region of origin


Common Name

Blue pincushion

Name in the Camden Park Record

Brunonia Australis

Confidence level high