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.

Eucomis comosa Hort. ex Wehrh.

A possible candidate for Macarthur’s ‘Eucomis umbellatis’ is Eucomis comosa, a bulbous perennial with strap-shaped leaves with wavy margins, heavily spotted with purple beneath, and racemes of pale greenish-white flowers with distinct purple centres, in late summer and autumn.  The tallest species, and the commonest grown today.  To 100cm.  [RHSE, Hortus, CECB].  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘The trivial name [punctata] is taken from the curious dotting of the stem and leaves.  Introduced by Mr. John Graefer, in 1783, from the Cape of Good Hope.’  [BM t.913/1806].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.109/1843].


I have found no record of a plant named Eucomis umbellatis but it is possible that umbellatis refers to a variety with a particularly well developed umbrella-like tuft of leaves at the top of the flower spike.  It may be a misspelling, quite common in the catalogues.  The other two species of Eucomis growing in the Cape of Good Hope are also possible candidates, perhaps more likely as they possess a rather larger tuft of leaves.

Eucomis regia Ait. has leaves much broader than the other species, prostrate, flowers congested, green.  To 15cm.  [RHSD, CECB].  Introduced to Britain in 1702.  [JD].  Redouteé L pl.175/1802-15.  This is the plant used as illustration.

Eucomis autumnalis (Mill.) Chitt., synonyms Eucomis undulata Ait., Eucomis regia L’Hér., is a bulbous perennial with strap-shaped leaves with wavy margins and racemes of pale greenish-white flowers, aging to darker green, in late summer and autumn.  To 30cm.  [RHSE, Hortus, CECB].  ‘Raised in Chelsea Gardens, by P. Miller, from seeds received from the Cape of Good Hope, in 1760.’  [BM t.1083/1808].

Published Jan 06, 2010 - 02:35 PM | Last updated Jan 07, 2010 - 01:28 PM

The figure shows bulb, strap-like leaves and greenish flowers topped with leaves.  Redoute? Liliac?es pl.175, 1802-15.

Eucomis regia Ait. | Redouteé Liliacées pl.175/1802-15 | BHL

Family Hyacinthaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Eucomis punctata L’Hér.
  • Asphodelus comosus Houtt.
Common Name

South Africa, Cape district

Name in the Camden Park Record

Eucomis umbellatis 

Confidence level low