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.

Cantua pyrifolia Juss. ex Lam.

Frost tender evergreen shrub or small tree with clusters of oblong leaves, to 7.5cm, toothed at the tips, arching habit and dense, erect racemes of creamy-white or straw-coloured flowers in spring.  To 5m.  [RHSD].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Of all the Polemoniaceae, and many of them it must be acknowledged are very handsome, some species of the present genus, Cantua, are preminently beautiful.  We have now the pleasure of announcing a species reared in this country, for the first time, by Messrs. Veitch and Sons, at their Nursery, Exeter, from seeds sent by their collector, Mr. William Lobb, from Peru.  This is, however, by no means the most showy of the Cantuas.  C. quercifolia has pure white flowers, nestled among leaves, as large as those of our oaks; and the C. buxifolia has deep rose-coloured blossoms, full four inches long.  C. pyrifolia is, however, liable to vary: some of the specimens gathered by Mathews, as observed by De Candolle, have narrower flowers; and the native specimens have more generally entire leaves, and somewhat more like those of a pear, than the specimen here figured.  It flowered in March, 1848.’  [BM t.4386/1848].  FS f.383/1848.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.279/1850].  Obtained from Veitch’s Nursery, brought out from England by Captain P. P. King in 1849.  Believed by Macarthur to be a new introduction at that time.  [ML A1980-3].


Published Mar 03, 2009 - 04:23 PM | Last updated Feb 28, 2010 - 10:58 AM

Shown are toothed oblong leaves and dense, erect racemes of straw-coloured flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.4386, 1848.

Cantua pyrifolia Juss. ex Lam. | BM t.4386/1848 | BHL

Family Polemoniaceae
Region of origin


  • Cantua peruviana Gmel.
  • Cantua loxensis Willd.
  • Cantua ochroleuca Brand
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Cantua pyrifolia 

Confidence level high