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.

Crinum scabro-pedunculatum ‘Cleopatra’

A Crinum zeylanicum L. x Crinum pedunculatum R.Br. hybrid. Originally Crinum scabro-pedunculatum hybrid no.1 in Macarthur’s notebook, later named ‘Cleopatra’. Bulbs very large, round, but rather elongated, without column, leaves being produced close to the surface of the ground.  Leaves 4-6 feet long, very broad, measuring as much as 7-8 inches at the widest [indistinct, probably] part, erect.  Scapes 3-4 in November produced in succession from mid-December to February,  about 30-36 inches high, stout, erect, surmounted by an umbel of 16-21 flowers, [indistinct, probably] ovary slightly pedunculated, green, tubes green, streaked with dark purple, about 4½-5 inches long, outer petals 1 inch, inner 1¼ inches broad, about 4-4½ inches long when fully expanded, reflexed and of thick substance like those of C. pedunculatum.  From 8-12 expanded at once forming a complete crown or circle more than 12 inches in diameter, each flower measuring 6-7 inches across.  Ground colour pure brilliant white with a well defined band down the centre of each petal, ¼ inch broad, of rich carmine.  Stamens grouped together like those of C. scabrum, white below, purple above anthers, the [undeciphered] apparently imperfect and pollen yellow.  Style dark crimson purple the same length as the petals and 1½ inches longer than the stamens.  Fragrant.  A most magnificent plant.  1841. [MP A2948 Notebook no.4, ps.1&2].

Like the other named cultivars of this cross it was probably bred by John Bidwill. See Crinum scabro-pedunculatum ‘Augusta’ for more information.

Horticultural & Botanical History

See Crinum scabro-pedunculatum no.5 for more information on these crosses.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues as Crinum scabro-pedunculatum [B.93/1845].  This name presumably covers all the hybrids raised, some of which were named after 1845.  Crinum scabro-pedunculatum varieties ‘Augusta’, ‘Cleopatra’, ‘Helen’, ‘Dido’ and ‘Thisbe’ were hand-written in a copy of the 1850 catalogue in the Camden Park collection, signed William Macarthur and dated 1850-51 [CPA].  This catalogue also contains a full price list, the five hybrids priced at 2/6 and 5/-.  The catalogue numbers 94/2 – 94/6 were allotted them by Macarthur, presumably to assist with ordering.  They are also listed on a hand-written page, 6a, in an 1850 catalogue in the Mitchell Library collection, this one signed Wm. Macarthur and dated 23rd Dec. 1854.  [ML 635.9m].  Detailed descriptions are given in William Macarthur’s gardening notebooks [MP A2948], with additional material on ‘Augusta’ in Bidwill’s notebook [Bidwill p.7]. 

It seems highly likely that the bulk of the notes on the Crinum scabrum Herb. x Crinum pedunculatum R.Br. hybrids in Macarthur’s notebooks are in John Bidwill’s hand, with additional pencil notes by William Macarthur.


Published May 07, 2009 - 01:21 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2012 - 04:48 PM

Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Camden Park

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Crinum scabro-pedunculatum var. Cleopatra 


Confidence level high