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.

Geum chiloense Balb. ex Ser.

Fully hardy, clump-forming perennial with pinnate basal leaves, deeply lobed, toothed stem leaves and branched stems bearing reddish-orange or scarlet flowers, to 4cm across, in summer.  To 60cm.  The well-known cultivar ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ is a form of Geum chiloense.  [RHSE, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘This plant [Geum coccineum] is said to be a native of Chili, introduced a short time since.  It is herbaceous and hardy, producing its beautiful flowers freely during the summer.’  [LBC no.1527/1829].  ‘For this extremely beautiful perennial, the public is indebted to M. Balbis, of Lyons, by whom it has been communicated to most of the principal gardens of Europe.  Quite hardy, and flowering in a common border, exposed to the north, from May to August.  Our drawing was made in such a situation in the garden of the Horticultural Society, by whom it was received from M. Balbis, in 1826.  The brilliancy of its blossoms is unrivalled among the dwarf inhabitants of the flower garden.’  [BR f.1088/1827]. BR f.1348/1830.

History at Camden Park

Only listed in the 1843 catalogue.  The early introduction may have been lost as Macarthur included Geum coccineum among desiderata to Loddiges, 6th January 1845 [MP A2933-1 p.28].  Macarthur placed an order for Geum seed, 3 varieties unspecified, with James Carter, Florist and Seedsman of High Holborn, on 8th of April 1846 [MP A2933-1 p.128].  He also ordered seed of Geum grandiflorum, probably G. chiloense grandiflorum, possibly a hybrid with large scarlet flowers, from Hurst and McMullen, Seedsmen and Florists of London, on 8th April 1846 [MP A2933-1 p.132].   Geum chiloense is a reliable herbaceous plant in the gardens today although usually quite short-lived, lasting only for two seasons or so.


A less likely possibility is Geum coccineum Sibth. & Sm., [Roscoe] synonym G. x borisii Kellerer ex Sundermann.  Balkans.  Similar to G. chiloense but the basal leaves are heart-shaped and the stem leaves are unlobed.  Flowers bright red and somewhat smaller than G. chiloense.  To 50cm.  ‘The true G. coccineum is rarely seen, being confused with G. chiloense.’  [RHSD].  Roscoe pl.30/1831 as Geum quellyon.

Published Feb 08, 2009 - 03:22 PM | Last updated Aug 03, 2010 - 04:59 PM

Depicted is a shoot with a number of bright red, single flowers.  Botanical Register f.1088, 1827.

Geum chiloense Balb. ex Ser. | BR f.1088/1827 | BHL

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin


  • Geum chilense Lindl.
  • Geum coccineum Lindl.
Common Name


Name in the Camden Park Record

Geum coccineum 

Confidence level medium