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.

Gloriosa superba L. var. virescens

See Gloriosa superba L. for information on the species.  Virescens has deep orange and yellow flowers, the margins of the segments slightly undulated rather than crisped, as in the type Gloriosa superba.  The variety grandiflora is most commonly met with in gardens.  [RHSD, Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘We have no doubt that this is a distinct species from Gloriosa superba, not only from the different colour and smaller size of the flowers, but because of the petals, though reflexed in the same manner, spread more, and are not undulated, except towards the point. […] The plant described as a doubtful variety of superba by Lamarck, answers very well to our present subject, and came likewise from Africa, being brought by Mr. Adanson from Senegal.’  Introduced to Britain from Mozambique by John Forbes in 1823.  [BM t.2539/1825]. 

‘The habit and foliage of this species [Methonica virescens] are quite like those of M. superba, but the leaves are smaller, mostly cirrhiferous; when destitute of cirrhi the plant is G. simplex of Linnaeus.  The flowers too have the same general structure as in M. superba, but they are larger and more showy.  The petals are broadly obovato-spathulate, soon refracted: the apices are suddenly acuminated and always retroflexed or revolute, and the upper half only has the margins undulated; the claw and the lower half are yellow, sometimes with a faint streak of green.  Stamens and pistil (with the curiously geniculated style) as in the Indian species.  [BM t.4938/1856].

History at Camden Park

The only record of Gloriosa virescens is its inclusion in hand-written addenda in a copy of an 1850 catalogue inscribed on the front ‘Wm. Macarthur, 23rd Dec. 1854’.  [ML 635.9m].  Certainly growing in the gardens at this time.


Published Jan 06, 2010 - 03:38 PM | Last updated Jan 07, 2010 - 01:28 PM

Figured are lance-shaped leaves with terminal tendrils and red and yellow flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.2539, 1825.

Gloriosa superba L. var. virescens | BM t.2539/1825 | BHL

Family Colchicaceae
Region of origin


  • Gloriosa virescens Lindl.
  • Methonica virescens Kunth
Common Name

Glory lily, Creeping lily

Name in the Camden Park Record

Gloriosa virescens 

Confidence level high