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 ‘Calypso’

Hybrid Ixia of unknown parentage but probably bred at Camden Park.  No description is extant.

Horticultural & Botanical History

No data.


History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1845, 1850 and 1857 catalogues [B.269/1845].


Ixia is, like Gladiolus, an important genus in the history of the Camden Park garden and they were an early introduction.  William Macarthur hybridised them in large numbers, almost certainly with Bidwill’s assistance, and four named varieties are listed in the catalogues.  Regrettably, unlike Gladiolus, neither descriptions of these plants nor details of their parentage have yet been found.  A form of Ixia capillaris is naturalised in the area of the garden called ‘Blarney’, a grassed slope left unmown for all but the summer months.  This is probably the variety aulica, first listed in the catalogues in 1843.  Ixia flexuosa grows alongside Ixia capillaris but in much smaller numbers and more localised.  Sparaxis bulbifera, Sparaxis tricolor, Romulea rosea and Oxalis bowiei are also naturalised here together with a smaller number of Gladiolus carneus, many narcissi, mostly tazettiforms, and two mature bulbs of Brunsvigia josephinae.  In a good season the spring bulbs are an impressive sight.

William Macarthur wrote to James Carter, Seedsman and Florist of High Holborn, on the 8th April 1846: ‘We are in the habit of raising a considerable number of hybrid Ixias and gladioli here, many of them of considerable beauty.’  [MP A2933-1 p.128].  Many of these were sent to William Herbert at Spofforth in December 1844, including several named hybrids in addition to those listed in the catalogues: ‘Parramattensis’, ‘Bijou’, ‘La Reine’, ‘Sultana’, ‘Diadem’, ‘Hebe’, ‘Eurydice’, ‘Paulina’, ‘Euphrosgne’, ‘Isabella’ and ‘Pompona’.  [MP A2948-3].  A pink ixia called ‘Tempe’ was sent to William Macarthur Esq. in February 1844.  Probably a Camden park hybrid, this is the only one for which we have any sort of description.  In January 1845 another hybrid, ‘Danae’, was recorded as sent to South America, together with ‘Parramattensis’, ‘Diadem’, ‘Euphrosgne’, ‘Sultana’ and ‘Paulina’.  [MP A2948-3].  Surviving hybrid gladioli and ixias sent to Herbert were presumably included in the auction of his bulbs following his death in 1847.  If they proved to be superior plants under British conditions they may well have made some contribution to the rapid development of these beautiful plants that occurred over the next few decades.

Published Nov 10, 2009 - 02:31 PM | Last updated Aug 05, 2011 - 03:25 PM

Family Iridaceae
Region of origin

Garden origin, probably Camden Park.

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Ixia Calypso

Confidence level low