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.

Epidendrum ciliare L.

Frost-tender epiphytic and lithophytic orchid with leafy, pseudobulb-like stems bearing 1 or 2 oblong leaves, and terminal racemes, to 30cm long, of fragrant, white-lipped, pale yellow-green flowers, to 9cm across, sometimes with fringed lobes, in winter.  To 50cm by 30cm.  [RHSE, Pridgeon].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The rare and singular species here represented, a native of the warmer parts of America, and the West Indies, flowered with Mr. Whitley, Nurseryman, Old-Brompton, in Feb. 1799, and at irregular periods before that time. […] He propagates it by dividing its limbs or branches, which often put forth small roots; the plant grows in a pot, in a mixture of loam and peat or bog-earth, and is kept constantly plunged in the tan-pit of the stove.’  [BM t.463/1799]. 

‘The Epidendrums are generally considered a kind of parasitical plants, growing in their natural state upon the decomposed bark and wood of large trees.  We formerly found it difficult to imitate such situations; however by a mixture of rotten wood and moss, together with a small portion of sand, we have got them to succeed pretty well.’  [LBC no.9/1817].  Introduced to Britain in 1793.  [JD].

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [O.31/1850].  Epidendrum ciliare was included in a consignment of plants sent from Kew by John Bidwill in November 1843 [AJCP].  This is the probable source.


Published Jan 26, 2010 - 01:01 PM | Last updated Jan 26, 2010 - 01:06 PM

Figured are ovoid leaves and raceme of whitish flowers with fringed segments.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.463, 1799.

Epidendrum ciliare L. | BM t.463/1799 | BHL

Family Orchidaceae
Region of origin

Central to South America, Caribbean

  • Coilostylis ciliaris (L.) Withner & P.A.Harding
Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Epidendrum ciliare 

Confidence level high