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.

Ixia campanulata Houtt.

Cormous perennial with linear leaves, 3-8 flowers on a congested spike, usually deep red, occasionally white, the tepals spreading.  [CECB].  Descriptions of Ixia campanulata given elsewhere are quite variable, which may reflect species variability or differing identification.  The RHS Dictionary describes I. campanulata as having up to ten linear leaves, to 20cm long, and a short spike with up to nine, widely bell-shaped or cup-shaped, white flowers, sometimes flushed red or crimson.  Grey describes it as having up to four basal leaves, to 25cm, and a slender, rather longer stem with a dense, many-flowered spike of bell-like, reddish to purple flowers in summer.  Grey give Ixia speciosa as a synonym but provides a somewhat different description for the latter.  He describes it as having a few-flowered spike with glistening, deep crimson flowers, with a pale stripe outside.  

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘Out of many hundred specimens [of Ixia crateroides], both indigenous and from our own gardens, this is the only one we have ever seen with so many as three flowers, though the species is as liable as its congeners to vary in size of leaf and height of stem.’  [BM t.594/1802]. 

‘Nearly allied to I. patens and flexuosa, but a far more robust plant. […] Very impatient of drought, and should be set in a pan of water when near flowering.  Varies, with white, pale pink, and purple-rose-coloured flowers.’  Figured is a plant with pink flowers, streaked deeper pink.  It is described as having four leaves, with a flowering stem to 60cm, bearing 5-9 flowers.  ‘The several intermediate varieties we have seen, lead us to suspect, that I. patens, flexuosa, and aristata, can scarcely be retained as distinct species.’  [BM t.589/1802].  This plant may be Ixia aristata Schneev., a synonym of I. patens Ait. which see.  According to Johnson’s Dictionary Ixia crateroides was introduced to Britain in 1778, the date given by Andrews’ Botanical Repository for the introduction of Ixia speciosa.  [ABR pl.186/1801].

History at Camden Park

Listed in all published catalogues [B.271/1843].  Received per ‘Sovereign’ February 1831 under the name Ixia speciosa.  [MP A2948].  Seeds or bulbs of Ixia crateroides were presented to the Sydney Botanic Gardens by Messrs. Macarthur in the same year.  [RBGS AB1].


Ixia campanulata Lam. (1791) = Romulea hirsuta Eckl.

See also Ixia longituba N.E.Br.

For further discussion of Ixias see Ixia hybrid ‘Calypso’.

Published Nov 10, 2009 - 04:48 PM | Last updated Jul 24, 2010 - 04:37 PM

Figured is a narrow leaf and salver-shaped crimson flowers.  Curtis's Botanical Magazine t.594, 1802.

Ixia campanulata Houtt. | BM t.594/1802 | BHL

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

South Africa, Cape district

  • Ixia crateroides Ker-Gawl.
  • Ixia speciosa Andr. 
Common Name

Crimson ixia

Name in the Camden Park Record

Ixia crateroides 

Confidence level medium