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.

Gesneria x donkelaariana Lemair

It was described in the Floricultural Cabinet under new or rare plants as ‘a robust plant.  The leaves are nearly heart-shaped, 8 inches across, green, tinged with purple and red.  The flowers are produced in terminal heads; and plants about 9 inches high bloomed freely.  Each blossom is about 2 inches long, in the form of one of the scarlet-blossomed Penstemon; they are of a rosy-red colour, very neat and pretty.’  ‘The inside of the flower is white.’  [FC p.99/1854.  FC p.147/1854].

Horticultural & Botanical History

A Rechsteineria discolor (Lindl.) Kuntze x Sinningia speciosa (Lodd.) Hiern ‘Rubra’ hybrid, this plant was first described in 1853 by Lemair in Le Jardin Fleuriste in which he called it Gesneria x Donkelaariana.  It originated in the Botanic Gardens at Gaud and was named for the director of the Gardens, M. Donkelaar.  [FS f.902/1854].  ‘It may be had in bloom all year, by starting plants into growth at suitable successive periods, and after blooming, gradually to withhold water till the soil is all but dry, in which barely moist state the tubers must be kept undisturbed in the pot during the necessary time of rest.’  [FC p.49/1855].  I assume that the plant figured in Curtis’s botanical Magazine is the same as Lemair’s plant.  ‘One of the handsomest of Gesneriaceous plants now in cultivation in our stoves.  We are enabled to figure this plant from the rich collection of Messrs. Veitch and Son’s Nurseries of Exeter and Chelsea, where it flowered in June of the present year.  It is probably a native of Columbia, a region so rich in species of this genus, but at present we only know the plant in a state of cultivation.  If the colours of the flowers are not so bright as those of many species of the genus, their size, and the fine velvety foliage, dark-green on the upper surface, purple beneath, amply compensate for that imperfection.’  [BM t.5070/1858]. 

History at Camden Park

Listed only as an addendum to the 1857 catalogue [A.52/1857].


Published Sep 01, 2009 - 04:41 PM | Last updated Jul 21, 2010 - 03:40 PM

Figured is an upright plant with ovate leaves and tubular orange flowers. Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.5070, 1858.

Gesneria x donkelaariana Lemair | BM t.5070/1858 | BHL

Family Gesneriaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, Belgium

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Gesnera Doukelaari  

Confidence level high