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 variabile (Jacq.) Herb.

Bulbous perennial, 10-12 strap-like leaves to a bulb, leaves to 60cm long and 5cm wide, and umbels of 6-12 heavily scented white to pale pink flowers with deeper pink or green keels.  To 60cm.  [RHSD, Baker Am., CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

First botanically described as Amaryllis variabile by Jacquin in 1804 [Jacquin Sch. vol.4, p.14, t.429/1804]. Transferred to Crinum by Herbert in 1837: ‘This is the hardiest known species; out of doors it preserves its leaves in winter longer than Capense, and it shoots earlier in the spring.’ [Herbert p.268/1837].

The variety roseum, introduced in 1843 [PD] was figured in the Botanical Register: ‘This beautiful bulb flowered in April last with J. H. Slater Esq. of Uckfield.  Its leaves are very long, and its gay rosy flowers most agreeably scented.  Upon shewing the drawing to the Dean of Manchester, the learned investigator of this difficult genus, he suggested the probability of its being either a variety of Crinum variabile, or a mule from C. capense, of which the gardens now contain so many.  A reference to the published figured of the former induces us to regard it as one of its varieties, with which it agrees in its bright green very long leaves, and comparatively short scape.’  The flowers were a rosy pink, green-streaked on the back of the petals and whitish inside.  [BR f.9/1844].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.94/1845].


Published May 07, 2009 - 02:15 PM | Last updated Jul 04, 2012 - 05:19 PM

The image depicts a funnel-shaped flower, pink outside, white, shaded pink inside.  Botanical Register f.9, 1844.

Crinum variabile (Jacq.) Herb. | BR f.9/1844 var. rosea | RBGS 


Family Amaryllidaceae
Region of origin

South Africa

  • Amaryllis variabilis Jacq.
  • Crinum crassifolium Herb.
  • Crinum crassipes Baker


Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Crinum variabile 


Confidence level high